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Bibby Stockholm barge migrants moved after Legionella bacteria found Bibby Stockholm barge migrants moved after Legionella bacteria found
(7 months later)
The news will be a blow to a flagship part of the government's plan to deter Channel crossings by migrantsThe news will be a blow to a flagship part of the government's plan to deter Channel crossings by migrants
All migrants have been removed from the Bibby Stockholm barge after traces of Legionella bacteria were found in the on-board water system.All migrants have been removed from the Bibby Stockholm barge after traces of Legionella bacteria were found in the on-board water system.
The Home Office said all 39 migrants on board the vessel in Dorset were disembarked as a precaution.The Home Office said all 39 migrants on board the vessel in Dorset were disembarked as a precaution.
The Legionella bacteria can cause Legionnaires disease - a type of pneumonia.The Legionella bacteria can cause Legionnaires disease - a type of pneumonia.
The barge is part of the government's migration policy intended to cut the cost of housing asylum seekers.The barge is part of the government's migration policy intended to cut the cost of housing asylum seekers.
One resident who spoke to the BBC said the migrants had been transferred to a new hotel and all had received a letter saying they would be moved back to the barge after a week.One resident who spoke to the BBC said the migrants had been transferred to a new hotel and all had received a letter saying they would be moved back to the barge after a week.
The Home Office told the BBC "it does not recognise this claim" about the timeframe for returning to the vessel, adding that it would "remain in close contact with our partners and will adhere to all advice provided by relevant authorities over the coming days".The Home Office told the BBC "it does not recognise this claim" about the timeframe for returning to the vessel, adding that it would "remain in close contact with our partners and will adhere to all advice provided by relevant authorities over the coming days".
The resident also said a few of those who had been on board had sore throats, and he himself had been coughing and having breathing problems.The resident also said a few of those who had been on board had sore throats, and he himself had been coughing and having breathing problems.
Most people who contract Legionnaires disease make a full recovery but it can be deadly - around 10% of cases are fatal. People with underlying health conditions, the over 50s and smokers are at risk of serious illness.Most people who contract Legionnaires disease make a full recovery but it can be deadly - around 10% of cases are fatal. People with underlying health conditions, the over 50s and smokers are at risk of serious illness.
The government eventually plans to house up to 500 men aged 18-65 on the barge moored in Portland Port, while they await the outcome of asylum applications.The government eventually plans to house up to 500 men aged 18-65 on the barge moored in Portland Port, while they await the outcome of asylum applications.
Inside the Bibby Stockholm asylum seekers bargeInside the Bibby Stockholm asylum seekers barge
First asylum seekers board Bibby Stockholm bargeFirst asylum seekers board Bibby Stockholm barge
Asylum seekers describe life on Bibby StockholmAsylum seekers describe life on Bibby Stockholm
The migrants had started to arrive on the barge on MondayThe migrants had started to arrive on the barge on Monday
A Home Office source has told the BBC that results showing "low levels" of Legionella in the water system on the Bibby Stockholm were received by a contractor on Monday.A Home Office source has told the BBC that results showing "low levels" of Legionella in the water system on the Bibby Stockholm were received by a contractor on Monday.
It is understood the local council informed the Home Office on Wednesday evening, but at this stage the results being discussed were still "low levels".It is understood the local council informed the Home Office on Wednesday evening, but at this stage the results being discussed were still "low levels".
On Thursday further results "changed the picture". There was a discussion with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) who advised that the six newly-arrived asylum seekers should be disembarked.On Thursday further results "changed the picture". There was a discussion with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) who advised that the six newly-arrived asylum seekers should be disembarked.
Further testing has been done - by Dorset Council's environmental health team - and it is expected that migrants will be moved back only if and when the water supply is completely clear of contamination.Further testing has been done - by Dorset Council's environmental health team - and it is expected that migrants will be moved back only if and when the water supply is completely clear of contamination.
The council added that the samples related "only to the water system on the vessel itself, not the fresh water entering the vessel". It said there was "no risk for the wider community of Portland".The council added that the samples related "only to the water system on the vessel itself, not the fresh water entering the vessel". It said there was "no risk for the wider community of Portland".
To get rid of the Legionella bacteria, the water system needs to be flushed through with hot water.To get rid of the Legionella bacteria, the water system needs to be flushed through with hot water.
In a letter, seen by the BBC, migrants were told it was "necessary to temporarily relocate" them "as a precautionary health and safety measure".In a letter, seen by the BBC, migrants were told it was "necessary to temporarily relocate" them "as a precautionary health and safety measure".
"We are not aware of any individuals onboard with clinical signs of Legionnaires' disease," the letter said."We are not aware of any individuals onboard with clinical signs of Legionnaires' disease," the letter said.
Ministers have said the barge would help cut the cost of housing asylum seekers being accommodated in hotels and described the barge as "perfectly acceptable".Ministers have said the barge would help cut the cost of housing asylum seekers being accommodated in hotels and described the barge as "perfectly acceptable".
However, the initiative had already suffered a shaky start after delays over safety concerns and legal challenges had frustrated ministers' attempts to ramp up the numbers of people boarding the barge.However, the initiative had already suffered a shaky start after delays over safety concerns and legal challenges had frustrated ministers' attempts to ramp up the numbers of people boarding the barge.
Watch: Inside the housing barge after first asylum seekers boardWatch: Inside the housing barge after first asylum seekers board
Watch: Inside the housing barge after first asylum seekers boardWatch: Inside the housing barge after first asylum seekers board
Government sources have said they are complying with the UK Health Security Agency guidance and have gone "above and beyond" what has been recommended by removing people from the barge temporarily.Government sources have said they are complying with the UK Health Security Agency guidance and have gone "above and beyond" what has been recommended by removing people from the barge temporarily.
A Home Office spokesman said: "No individuals on board have presented with symptoms of Legionnaires', and asylum seekers are being provided with appropriate advice and support. Legionnaires' disease does not spread from person to person."A Home Office spokesman said: "No individuals on board have presented with symptoms of Legionnaires', and asylum seekers are being provided with appropriate advice and support. Legionnaires' disease does not spread from person to person."
Labour's shadow immigration minister Stephen Kinnock said the government had turned itself "into a laughing stock this week".Labour's shadow immigration minister Stephen Kinnock said the government had turned itself "into a laughing stock this week".
"They clearly haven't completed the safety checks properly," he claimed, saying the latest issues added to "a very clear sense that the government is in a state of shambles"."They clearly haven't completed the safety checks properly," he claimed, saying the latest issues added to "a very clear sense that the government is in a state of shambles".
Campaigners were also quick to hit out at the government over the development.Campaigners were also quick to hit out at the government over the development.
A charity representing asylum-seekers, Care4Calais, said its concerns over the safety of the barge had been justified. The charity is supporting a number of asylum seekers in legal challenges against being moved to the barge.A charity representing asylum-seekers, Care4Calais, said its concerns over the safety of the barge had been justified. The charity is supporting a number of asylum seekers in legal challenges against being moved to the barge.
Alex Bailey, from the Say No To The Barge campaign group, said the news was "another example of the haphazard, incompetent way our government has approached this scheme from start to finish".Alex Bailey, from the Say No To The Barge campaign group, said the news was "another example of the haphazard, incompetent way our government has approached this scheme from start to finish".
Immigration minister Robert Jenrick is understood to have been chairing meetings about the situation.Immigration minister Robert Jenrick is understood to have been chairing meetings about the situation.
Earlier this week he described accommodation on board the barge as "decent" but said there was "not a menu of options" for those seeking state-funded help as they sought asylum.Earlier this week he described accommodation on board the barge as "decent" but said there was "not a menu of options" for those seeking state-funded help as they sought asylum.
"We've got to be fair to the taxpayers as well as decent and compassionate to the individuals concerned.""We've got to be fair to the taxpayers as well as decent and compassionate to the individuals concerned."
What are the risks of Legionella bacteria?What are the risks of Legionella bacteria?
Legionella bacteria can cause a serious infection called Legionnaires' diseaseLegionella bacteria can cause a serious infection called Legionnaires' disease
The bacteria are normally found in rivers and lakes, but can grow inside water tanks and plumbing systemsThe bacteria are normally found in rivers and lakes, but can grow inside water tanks and plumbing systems
Problems emerge when people breathe in infected water and the bacteria get into the lungsProblems emerge when people breathe in infected water and the bacteria get into the lungs
Showers that create a mist of water carrying the Legionella bacteria would pose a riskShowers that create a mist of water carrying the Legionella bacteria would pose a risk
Once in the lungs, the bacteria lead to pneumonia and symptoms can include a cough, shortness of breath and a feverOnce in the lungs, the bacteria lead to pneumonia and symptoms can include a cough, shortness of breath and a fever
People infected will need antibiotics and, in more severe cases, oxygen supportPeople infected will need antibiotics and, in more severe cases, oxygen support
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Related TopicsRelated Topics
UK immigrationUK immigration
PortlandPortland
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