Asylum seekers in UK to be housed on large vessel
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The UK government has moved to utilize a substitute lodging choice, a barge, or an oversized vessel without its own engine propulsion, in order to ease the societal burden of housing 51,000 migrants on the mainland.
The UK Home Office touts the Portland barge’s free catering facilities, 24/7 security and basic healthcare.
The first asylum seekers are to be accommodated on the barge to reduce the use of expensive hotels, which are currently costing UK taxpayers £6 million a day. This is part of the government’s plan to move 3,000 of the refugees to alternative sites by autumn.
Initially, 50 people will arrive on the Portland vessel as part of a carefully structured plan to increase asylum seekers to the barge’s max capacity of 500 inhabitants by autumn.
Last week, the Home Office announced that the first asylum seekers had moved to a former military site, Wethersfield in Essex. By autumn, Wethersfield, the Portland vessel, and another former Ministry of Defence site, Scampton in Lincolnshire, will accommodate about 3,000 asylum seekers.
The sites provide basic and functional accommodation cheaper than hotels, are more manageable for communities, and they bring the UK in line with other European countries. Specifically, migrants are already being accommodated on vessels in the Netherlands and Ukrainian refugees are lodged on cruise ships in Scotland. The same service provider for the Scottish vessels, Corporate Travel Management, also operates the Portland barge.
In Nov. 2021, in an event that shocked the Kurdistan Region, 16 Kurdish asylum seekers drowned after their dingy capsized in the English Channel. Kurdistan Region authorities have previously said that they are taking all necessary measures to crack down on smuggling networks in the autonomous region.