Overseas workers almost tasked with tackling disease on Bibby Stockholm barge

Overseas workers almost tasked with tackling disease on Bibby Stockholm barge

Related video: Migrants moved off Bibby Stockholm after Legionella bacteria found in water system

Home Office officials considered using visa waivers for foreign workers to “cover surge stuffing” in case of an outbreak on the Bibby Stockholm, the barge later found to contain traces of the deadly legionella bacteria, according to “disgusting” plans seen by The Guardian newspaper.

The outlet obtained documents relating to meetings between health officials and Home Office barge contractors Landry & Kling under the Freedom of Information Act prior to migrants being taken onto the barge from 7 August, only to be evacuated off the vessel four days later when the aforementioned bacteria was found in its water supply.

Last week, The Independent revealed asylum seekers taken off the Bibby Stockholm have been told they won’t return to the barge for “weeks”.

The meeting notes obtained by The Guardian read: “Visa waiver scheme being worked on by Home Office to cover surge staffing in the event of an outbreak. Visa fast track approved, waiver to be discussed [on 14 June].”

The Guardian also reports the disclosures include concerns about what to do if there is an outbreak of scabies, diphtheria or coronavirus on the barge, and confirm that the Home Office didn’t go ahead with the visa waiver plans in the end.

Nevertheless, Twitter/X users are outraged that such a “vile” proposal was ever once considered by the government department:

In a statement, a Home Office spokesperson said: “The health and welfare of asylum seekers remains of the utmost priority.

“The Home Office and our contractors are following all protocols and advice from Dorset council’s environmental health team, the UK Health Security Agency and Dorset NHS, who we continue to work closely with.”

Sign up to our free Indy100 weekly newsletter

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.

The Conversation (0)