This week it was supposed to house fifty asylum seekers out of an expected total of more than five thousand. But the Bibby Stockholm is empty at its berth in Dorset, a county in the south of England. And it is that the first to embark on the floating residence since Monday the 7th, a total of 39 refugees, were unexpectedly evacuated this Friday due to the risk of contamination of the water system. The Ministry of the Interior confirmed in a press release that “environmental tests” of the pipes of the boat have given a positive result of the bacteriological presence of legionella.
The dangerous bacterium has at least temporarily scuttled Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s strategy to reduce the economic and political cost of irregular immigration. No refugee will board the floating prison until new analyzes confirm the purification of the internal water system. “The health and well-being of the individuals on the ship is our top priority,” a ministry spokesman said on Friday.
Meanwhile, the 39 evicted will once again occupy the hotel rooms that the head of the Conservative Government and his Minister of the Interior, Suella Braverman, want to eliminate and replace with cabins on port waters, bedrooms in old military barracks and tents near the centers of refugee reception. Sunak is confident that the hardening of living conditions on British soil discourage foreigners from crossing the English Channel by boat from France and allows cutting the estimated seven million euros per day that the Administration spends on hotel rooms.
But the forecasts do not add up yet. On Thursday the 10th, the 2023 record for the number of migrants who have arrived in England via the dangerous Channel route was recorded. Until 755 adults and minors arrived in 14 boats, including a group of 17 that nearly capsized at sea. They were rescued by operatives from the National Lifeboat Organization (RNLI) after the British Border Force lost one of its rescue boats to breakdown. A surveillance drone maritime crashed that same morning, further complicating the situation.
The British press warns that the mark of 100,000 irregular immigrants in crossings from coastal enclaves of the European Union since the Government began recording the data, in 2018. The statistics for the first six months of the year indicate a reduction of 14% compared to the previous period, but the improvement seems more related to conditions maritime and weather conditions along the route than with government measures and Sunak’s promise to “stop the boats”. In fact, a new peak of arrivals in small boats is anticipated this weekend, as the weather forecasts announce good temperatures and moderate wind.