UK to house asylum seekers on disused cruise ships and barges

Cruise ship in Southampton

The UK’s Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab has said “nothing is off the table” in the government’s plan to reduce the use of hotels to house asylum seekers, as the Home Office announces plans to house asylum seekers in barges and vessels, including disused cruise ships and ferries.

The Guardian reports a former cruise ship from Indonesia, which would be moored in south-west England, is one such vessel under consideration by Ministers, although plans are still in the early stages.

During his leadership campaign in 2022, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak proposed putting migrants on cruise ships. He was warned this could contravene the Human Rights Act and the European convention on human rights, rendering this practice illegal and amounting to arbitrary detention.

However, it is reported that the Home Office intends to register the cruise ships as hotels to circumvent legal challenges.

A full announcement by immigration minister Robert Jenrick will be made in the Commons today (29 March 2023). Multiple media reports yesterday confirmed the scheme also includes plans to house asylum seekers on giant barges normally used for offshore construction projects, and two ex-military bases.

Speaking to the Times, a government source said plans to use vessels were still at an “early stage”, and the concept of using barges faced several logistical challenges.

The government has come under increased pressure from Tory backbenchers to find an alternative solution to housing migrants in hotels. Around 400 hotels are currently used to house around 51,000 asylum seekers nationally, at a reported daily cost of £6.2m.

However, Bloomberg reports that a 2022 home office document warned detaining asylum seekers on cruise ships and barges could end up being more expensive than housing them in hotels.

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2 responses to “UK to house asylum seekers on disused cruise ships and barges”

  1. Darol Ballard says:

    You should change the law SO SOLICITORS working for these illegal immigrants have to accommodate them
    all boat people enter our country illegally so deport them or send back to FRANCE

  2. Vic Morris says:

    Most people condoning the vast majority of illegal immigrants seem to forget they have entered the UK, illegally. The majority are economic migrants and most are young men.
    My personal belief after emmigrating Legally during my life, is probably 95 % should be removed and not allowed to stay. Once again they are illegal
    Why should we the taxpayers pay for these Illegals. 2.5 Billion a year and rising and thats not to mention the tens of millions we have paid France.
    It is getting completely out of hand
    One final thing, How dare they complain about accommodation etc, when they should not be here in the first place. It’s our stupid welfare handouts that attract them.
    We should stop all handouts, free accomodation, food, spending money. Then let’s see if they keep coming, I would say the flow would stop and very quickly.

This article was written and/or edited by the UK-based MIN team.

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