Asylum seekers told they will return to Bibby Stockholm barge next week

Asylum seekers who were evacuated from the Bibby Stockholm have been told they will return to the barge next week.

A total of 39 migrants were moved into the floating accommodation in August as part of a government plan to cut down the number being housed in hotels.

But within days, the group of men were moved off the vessel after legionella bacteria was found in the water supply.

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Sky News now understands those 39 people have been sent letters, telling them they will be moved back on to the Bibby Stockholm next week.

The Home Office confirmed they have started to send letters about re-embarkation, “following the vessel completing all necessary tests”.

The barge is among a number of controversial accommodation options the government has begun rolling out – including former military bases and even the suggestion of large marquees.

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But it has faced fierce opposition from politicians, charities and residents, over the treatment of asylum seekers and the impact on local services.

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Ministers pushed ahead with the move, and a small number of people were put on to the vessel in early August.

But the results from routine water testing came back two days later, showing the bacteria – which can cause a serious type of lung infection known as Legionnaires’ disease.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The Home Office has started to send letters to asylum seekers to confirm the re-embarkation of the Bibby Stockholm and notify them that they will be accommodated on board, following the vessel completing all necessary tests.

“The letters confirm the next steps for asylum seekers and reiterate that all asylum accommodation continues to be offered on a no-choice basis.

“Delivering alternative accommodation sites, such as the vessel, is more affordable for taxpayers and more manageable for communities, due to healthcare and catering facilities on site, 24/7 security and the purpose built safe accommodation they provide.”