The government plans to house up to 500 asylum seekers on the Bibby Stockholm, a barge docked in the Port of Portland, Dorset. However, due to concerns over the potentially deadly legionella bacteria being found onboard, the first 39 people to be housed on the vessel were evacuated on Friday.

Dr Sapna Mawkin, a GP working on the barge, conducted health screenings on board last week. She tells Nosheen Iqbal what health concerns asylum seekers have when they arrive in the UK.

Daniel Trilling, author of Lights in the Distance: Exile and Refuge at the Borders of Europe, tells Nosheen how the barge policy fits into the government’s wider policy crackdown on people travelling to the UK on small boats. He explains why the message the barge sends to the public might be more important to the government than how many asylum seekers end up housed there.

Also, Guardian reporter Sammy Gecsoyler speaks to local residents about how the barge has divided the community. Supporters of Stand Up to Racism claim that the far right is whipping up hostility in the area.

People carrying bags walking up the gangway into the Bibby Stockholm accommodation barge, at the quayside at Portland Port in Portland

Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

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