Welcome to refugees returning to Bibby Stockholm


with giant welcome card



Portland Port, Dorset DT5 1BD

Despite continuing concerns over the humanity and safety of housing refugees claiming asylum on the Bibby Stockholm barge, the Home Office has given notice that they intend to start returning people to the barge in Portland Port from 19 October.

Between 10am and 12 noon on Thursday, Stand Up To Racism Dorset will join the Portland Global Friendship Group, local residents, faith groups and trade unions for a show of welcome to the refugees as they arrive. Along with flowers and welcome packs for each refugee containing toiletries and other essentials, the welcome party will have a giant Welcome card with messages collected from local people, which people will add to as they arrive. 

Candy Udwin from Stand Up To Racism Dorset said, “We want to send a clear message of welcome to the refugees who, after fleeing from persecution and war deserve better than what feels like a prison barge.”

“The great support from local people has countered the division and hatred that were threatened in response to the barge. Now we are calling for the government to organise safe passage for refugees and to clear the asylum claim backlog, rather than spending a fortune on the barge, and stirring up hatred with talk about hurricanes and invasions.“ 

Heather from the Portland Global Friendship Group said, “We will be showing solidarity to the men returning to the Bibby Stockholm. We will continue to support them and, as a community, make sure the refugees are welcomed back.”

“Many local people have added messages to the Welcome card we have made to show love and kindness to the refugees, which is a testament to the support and care that there is in the local community.”

The refugees were removed from the barge on 11 August when potentially lethal legionella was found in the water system and concerns over fire safety were reported.  Government contract documents have shown that nearly £22.5 million is due to Corporate Travel Management, the company given an 18-month contract to run the barge. The Bibby Stockholm may have exceeded £2.5 million just in running costs in the 2 months it was left empty. 

Legal challenges are ongoing, including by the Fire Brigades Union and the Mayor of Portland, Carralyn Parkes, who has issued a further judicial review claim in the High Court challenging the decision by Dorset Council that it has no planning jurisdiction over the Bibby Stockholm. 

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