Bibby Stockholm discrimination report ‘published in error’on December 30, 2023 at 11:23 am

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The report found housing asylum seekers on the Bibby Stockholm barge in Dorset was discriminatory.

The Bibby Stockholm barge pictured from a corner. It is sitting in the dock, the name of the boat is visible on its side in large letters. The barge appears to have three floors with windows, similar to what you would see in a flat block.Image source, PA Media

A report which found housing asylum seekers on a barge was discriminatory was published by mistake.

It said the policy of housing asylum seekers on the Bibby Stockholm, which is moored on Portland in Dorset, discriminated on the grounds of age and sex.

The impact assessment was deleted from the UK Government’s website on Friday, two days after it appeared.

A note on the website said it was “published in error”.

The report said the policy of housing up to 500 single men on the barge was “directly discriminating in relation to age (and) sex” because the barge was only suitable for men aged 18 to 65.

However, the document noted that the Equality Act allows for such discrimination if it is “justified as a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim”.

The government has previously declined to publish an equality impact assessment for the Bibby Stockholm.

In September, then-immigration minister Robert Jenrick said assessments were “for internal use” and “not routinely published”.

An aerial view of the Bibby Stockholm immigration barge moored at Portland Port, in August 2023 in Portland, England

Image source, Getty Images

Following the deletion of the report, a Home Office spokesperson said an equality impact assessment for Portland would be published in due course.

They said they were moving away from accommodating asylum seekers in hotels, calling it “expensive” and “unsustainable”.

“Due to the greater need to accommodate male asylum seekers and those aged between 18-65, it is appropriate and proportionate to use large accommodation sites for male asylum seekers only,” they added.

Flowers have been left at the entrance to Bibby Stockholm

Image source, PA Media

Housing asylum seekers on the Bibby Stockholm has drawn opposition, with some critics describing conditions as “prison-like”.

In December, campaigners called for all asylum seekers on board to be removed from the barge following the death of a migrant.

The body of Leonard Farruku, a 27-year-old Albanian, was found in a cabin on 12 December.

Dorset coroner Rachael Griffin said no other person was involved in his death.

The inquest has been adjourned until July to gather evidence from barge authorities.

The vessel’s first 39 residents were also evacuated in August after Legionella bacteria was found in the water supply.

The migrants were returned in October after the Home Office declared it “safe and secure”.

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