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Migrants on Bibby Stockholm complain they are feeling seasick and unable to sleep as Storm Ciaran shakes barge from side to side


Migrants on the Bibby Stockholm have complained of feeling seasick and being unable to sleep as Storm Ciaran shakes the barge from side to side. 

The vessel is moored off the isle of Portland, which is linked to the mainland by a mile-long causeway that has now been closed following a flood alert. 

A yellow weather warning is currently in place locally for high winds, with the Met Office advising of the risk of ‘large waves’ and ‘flying debris’. 

Today, a campaign group claimed conditions had deteriorated for some of the 100 migrants aboard the barge.  

Heather Jones, of Stand up to Racism – which is in contact with some of the migrants – said: ‘I know that some people on board are getting quite seasick.

Migrants on the Bibby Stockholm (pictured) have complained of feeling ill due to rough conditions, it was claimed today

Migrants on the Bibby Stockholm (pictured) have complained of feeling ill due to rough conditions, it was claimed today 

The vessel is moored off the isle of Portland , which is linked to the mainland by a mile-long causeway that has now been closed following a flood alert

The vessel is moored off the isle of Portland , which is linked to the mainland by a mile-long causeway that has now been closed following a flood alert

‘They have told me they got absolutely no sleep last night and the boat was shaking so much it was pretty scary.

‘The only support they have got is a text message warning them this (the storm) was going to happen.’

The Environment Agency closed the causeway leading to the isle of Portland at just after 8am and activated the wailing siren for the whole community to hear.

The local authority say they expect the road to be closed for the next few hours until the worst of the storm passes.

Dorset Council UK tweeted: ‘Portland Beach Road is now closed. We have teams at either end of the road to assist with any problems, but we expect the highway to be closed for at least a few hours.

‘We’ll provide further updates as soon as we know when it is likely to reopen.’

The last time the flood alert siren sounded at Portland was in 2014, when huge 30ft waves moved thousands of tonnes of shingles at the 18 mile long Chesil Beach and destroyed the local landmark, the Pom Pom Rock.

It also went off during the flooding of 1979, and there was a great storm disaster in 1824 which killed 22 people and destroyed 25 houses on the isle.

Resident Allakeah Mitchell said: ‘I was taking my son and daughter to school when I saw coastguard, police and an ambulance go past and police had to close the road.

‘The siren was quite loud and alarming. The last time I remember the road being shut off was nine years ago.’

The last time the flood alert siren sounded at Portland was in 2014. This picture was taken today

The last time the flood alert siren sounded at Portland was in 2014. This picture was taken today 

There are also reports of flooding in West Bay, the real-life setting of the ITV crime drama Broadchurch.

A tidal surge knocked over a young female cyclist and another member of the public near the Watch House Cafe at East Beach.

Bridport Town Council said: ‘With waves coming over the sea defence the road into West Bay is beginning to flood.

‘Some people are taking unnecessary risks by coming to look and take photos from precarious places.’

The first asylum seekers were brought back to the Bibby Stockholm in October, more than two months after it was evacuated following the discovery of Legionella bacteria in the water supply.

After a visit to the barge last week, Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle complained residents were unable to regularly leave the port as they were reliant on an hourly bus service to Portland and Weymouth which did not always turn up and was not sufficient for the current occupancy of about 100 men, which the Home Office says will rise to 500.

Mr Russell-Moyle said that the gym facilities on board had been stripped back to just two treadmills and even the basketball had been removed from the basketball court. 

The government has fought off multiple legal challenges over the use of the barge to house migrants, with Suella Braverman most recently winning her case against a mayor who argued housing migrants on the vessel breached planning and equality laws.

A Home Office spokesperson said: ‘The welfare of people accommodated at Portland is of the utmost priority.

‘The Bibby Stockholm is in a sheltered port, protected by a large breakwater and moored securely alongside a permanent jetty which means the vessel is well secured.

‘The Home Office and our contractors have all appropriate measures and protocols in place to ensure the safety of those on and off the vessel.’



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