Bibby Stockholm asylum seekers speak out after migrant 'suicide'

Bibby Stockholm barge

Bibby Stockholm asylum seekers speak out after migrant 'suicide'

George Bunn

By George Bunn

Published: 13/12/2023

- 22:46

The migrants on board are given £9.10 a week

Migrants on board the Bibby Stockholm said they were treated "in­humanely" by staff.

A group of migrants said staff told them to "shut up and keep quiet" when they complained about the quality of the food, the dismissive behaviour of staff or their living conditions.

Speaking to The Times, they said a "tall black African" killed himself on Tuesday, having regularly shouted at staff in complaint about his treatment and the conditions on board.

Some residents said they saw police cars and two ambulances arrive at the dockside at about 6.30am.

WATCH: A body bag is removed from the Bibby Stockholm

A young man who lived on the same corridor as the dead man, and who did not wish to be identified, said he heard him on Tuesday "at 3am "screaming out loud".

He said: "He was screaming and swearing in the hallway at the management and authorities that he was not being taken care of. He was shouting ‘Every day it’s the same’, and that he was not a scapegoat.

"He was screaming for 10 to 15 minutes very loudly and then security guys came. We could tell because we heard British accents. After about an hour we didn’t hear any other sound and we think maybe at that time he committed suicide. We didn’t hear the police come. It was very quiet when they came."

Another added: "The person who died, he went to reception every night saying, ‘Please change my room, please change my room, my health is not good.’"


​Floral tributes have been left near the Bibby Stockholm


The Bibby Stockholm barge first hosted people in mid-August but were removed days later after test results showed the water supply was carrying legionella bacteria. They moved back onboard on October 19.

One said: "When we came back after legionella, a person said they wanted to commit ­suicide. When newcomers come here many of them say they are depressed and they are having so much stress and they are going to commit suicide. [The barge staff] don’t help. They say they cannot help us, this is the way.

One man said a resident was shouting about the suicide at 1.15pm on Tuesday when staff called security, who told him to “shut up and keep quiet."

Another said: "They threaten us with a warning letter if we don’t obey them. That can go to the Home Office and ­affect our case. A couple of days ago a guy stood on a chair and said it was not good food. A security person said, ‘Sit down and keep your mouth shut.’"

\u200bMigrants going back on board the Bibby Stockholm

Migrants going back on board the Bibby Stockholm


One man, who came to the UK fleeing a religious dictatorship, said that since he arrived more than a year ago he "felt part of me died", adding: "I have lost a lot of auton­omy. I cannot leave the port without permission. I am searched every time I go out. Since I got here I have never been able to cook my own food.

"For the average person, it’s not being able to choose what you can eat every single day of your life. You also can’t afford to eat what you want."

The migrants are given £9.10 a week. He said: "You can’t afford to have hobbies or go to a restaurant and sit down and eat like a normal person.

"I have made a friend [a fellow migrant]. He is the most productive, capable, intelligent person I have ever met and it’s so sad to see his potential squandered because he is not allowed to do anything. It’s killing his spirit and it’s terrible to watch. I have seen quite a few intelligent people face the same issue."

You may like