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Bibby Stockholm update

Please find the latest update from the Multi Agency Forum below.


This is a joint update from the subgroups that feed into the Multi Agency Forum (MAF), which supports operational planning of the Bibby Stockholm barge in Portland. The MAF consists of representatives from the Home Office, Dorset Council, Portland Town Council, Weymouth Town Council, Dorset Police, Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, NHS Dorset, and the barge operators Landry & Kling and CTM. Please share the following information with your networks.

Site update

New residents continue to arrive, in line with plans agreed with local agencies. There continues to be an increased turnover of people, as residents receive a decision on their asylum application or find alternative accommodation with friends or family.

Dorset Council’s agreement with the Home Office continues where barge residents receiving a decision on their asylum application are moved off the barge to have their decision served. They are moved to various parts of the UK, where they can continue with the rebuilding of their lives, without placing undue burden on Dorset Council, public services, or the local housing market. This means that no service users of the Bibby Stockholm will be added onto the local housing list and the Home Office does not expect Dorset Council to accommodate any barge residents.

Rumours & Misinformation

There have recently been rumours circulating that asylum seekers are being accommodated at Maritime House on Portland. The Home Office is not using any other accommodation in the area to house asylum seekers.

There have also been reports about the lease of the Bibby Stockholm being extended until February 2026. No decision has yet been made on the future use of the Bibby Stockholm. The Home Office will continue to engage and work collaboratively with Dorset Council, Portland Port and Dorset Police to look at options for lease extension after January 2025.

External visitors

Visits from external organisations continue and many of those visits have been followed up with positive comments, including how well the barge is run, and are impressed by the level of care and consideration being given to all residents on board. The site continues to be subject to Parliamentary scrutiny and has recently hosted visits from Home Affairs Select Committee, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights, the UNHCR and the National Audit Office. Many of these parliamentary and oversight visits have resulted in official publication which are available on gov.uk website.

Community Safety

The Community Impact Group (CIG) comprises of representatives from the Police, NHS, Dorset Council, Portland Town Council, Weymouth Town Council, local business community and other community representatives. Any issues are raised at CIG and discussed with a recent example of complaints of litter being left at a bus stop, education was provided by the barge staff and the residents returned to the site and cleaned the area.

There are often rumours whenever a crime is committed, alleging barge residents are involved. This can quickly escalate on social media. The Dorset Police news website provides updates on many incidents across the Dorset area, if you require any further information, please use this resource. 

Media and social media continue to be monitored. Where appropriate, Multi Agency Forum partners provide accurate, factual information to dispel rumours and reduce the spread of misinformation.

Dorset Police will be hosting their regular community contact points over the next few days, where you can raise any concerns about local issues. The dates and times are as follows:

You can find out more on the Dorset Police website.

Voluntary and community activities

The residents on the barge continue to take part in various activities provided by voluntary and community partners. During Easter weekend residents were able to take part in a religious event taking place on the beach. The barge football team have recently taken part in their first game against a local mental health charity and feedback was positive from all involved. Future activities for residents include creative writing, First Aid classes, guided walks in the local community and outdoor water sports. Feedback from local people engaging with barge residents continues to be positive, commenting on their enthusiasm and courtesy.

Lots of residents actively and regularly volunteer in the community. Some want to give back to the community hosting them in their moment of need and develop skills that will help them find work and integrate into British way of life when their asylum is granted. A recent example of this was the second litter pick by residents and the local community in the areas of Easton, Weston on Tophill and Portland. The volunteers received many “Thank You’s” along the route from local drivers and walkers who stopped to chat.

Positive PR campaign

Dorset Council, Portland Town Council and Weymouth Town Council are working with We Are Weymouth on a positive campaign showcasing all the great things Weymouth & Portland has to offer. This includes our Jurassic Coast, award winning beaches and nature reserves as well as the entertainment and hospitability that the areas are renowned for. The campaign will be targeted to people outside of the Dorset area, using data and statistics to pinpoint specific geographical areas such as Bristol, the Midlands, and the East Coast, as this is where a substantial number of our visitors come from. By running this campaign, in addition to the great work that Visit Dorset already does, we plan to dispel some of the misinformed negativity that has been seen across media and social media which has sought to make the erroneous suggestion that the barge is impacting tourism. Cruise ships continue to arrive regularly into Portland and the presence of the barge has not caused any local disruption to these visits.

Please share these updates and information with other people in your networks. Further information is available in the Portland Port factsheet.