Protesters Meet the Asylum Seeker Barge at the Dorset Port. Protests erupted when the Bibby Stockholm, an asylum seeker barge, moored at Portland Port following a 24-hour trip around the south coast.
The barge, which will house the first batch of asylum seekers in the coming days, has been linked to the port’s fresh water and mains sewerage networks.
While the advent of the barge has sparked protest from local organizations, the government supports its usage, highlighting the cost-effectiveness of such boats as compared to hotels.
Protesters Meet the Asylum Seeker Barge at the Dorset Port
The Home Office claims that, like practices in other European nations, using boats as alternative accommodation is a more financially feasible choice for British taxpayers.
It further claims that hosting refugees aboard barges is less expensive for communities than expensive hotels.
The government has been working closely with local councils and key partners to prepare for the arrival of asylum seekers later this month while minimizing disturbance for local communities.
Alternative Solutions Are Needed
Some opponents, however, maintain that holding and quickly removing persons who enter the UK unlawfully, as suggested in the Illegal Migration Bill, is the greatest approach to relieve burdens on the asylum system.
Weymouth Town Council Leader David Harris disagrees, adding that local councillors in the region feel the decision to use the barge was made in error.
He believes that processing asylum seekers more effectively and quickly integrating them into society would be a more cost-effective cost-cutting solution.
Rev. Cannon Stands in Solidarity with Refugees
The rural dean of Weymouth and Portland, Nick Clark, joins the protesters gathering at Portland Port to greet the migrants and express his worries over their housing.
He feels that instead of being confined on a barge, which resembles jail, immigrants deserve a more humane and respectful welcome.
Clark underscores the church’s preparedness to help and welcome refugees in Weymouth and Portland.
Concerns and opposition
Protests have already taken place at the port gates ahead of the barge’s arrival in Portland.
Around 50 demonstrators have assembled, expressing concern about the demand on public services in this tiny island town as a result of hosting 500 asylum seekers.
Others are concerned about the guys who will live aboard the barge’s safety and dignity.
The community has been strongly opposed to the barge’s presence, with emotions of resentment over the decision’s imposition.
Portland: A One-Of-A-Kind Island
The Isle of Portland, located near the southern extremity of the Jurassic Coast, has a spectacular scenery.
Chesil Beach connects the island to mainland England, and the island can be driven around in 10 minutes.
It is well-known for its remoteness and rough beauty, and it is a shelter for animals.
Portland Bill Observatory serves as a major landing site for millions of migratory birds coming in the United Kingdom.
Portland is well-known for its quarries, which have produced Portland stone used in a number of notable structures across the globe, including St Paul’s Cathedral in London and the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
The island’s sailing seas have achieved international acclaim, and its National Sailing Academy held sailing competitions for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012.
The island is connected to the neighbouring town of Weymouth by a single road.
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