An organisation has warned that housing asylum seekers on a barge in Portland Port could risk the mental and physical health of individuals due to a serious risk of re-traumatisation.

Refugee support organisation One Life to Live is campaigning against large scale accommodation sites and challenging preconceptions of asylum and refugee issues.

In a study, the organisation has criticised plans by the Home Office and Portland Port to house 500 asylum seekers on a barge at Portland Port.

Campaigner Nicola David said that keeping people who may have risked their lives travelling to the UK on a boat may be traumatised by having to live on a barge on the water.

She said: "Some people attempt the journey multiple times, adding layer upon layer to their trauma.

"Containing people on a barge or ship cannot therefore be considered as anything but cruel and degrading.

"Day and night, their senses will be reminded of their journey - continuous views of a huge stretch of water, the movement of the boat, the smell of the sea and the sound of the waves.

A quote from the study from a man who was detained on two vessels in Rotterdam said: "It was rocking and creaking all day long.

"Many people complained of being seasick and the noise of the creaking bolts made it difficult to sleep.

"The boat was rocking so heavily that we feared it would capsize and we would all drown. You cannot imagine the anxiety you feel when you are trapped in such a situation."

The organisation has also raised concerns about the danger to life of asylum seekers on the barge, as they are less likely to be able to swim, putting them at a potential risk should they fall, jump or be pushed into the water.

Drowning is the leading cause of death for asylum seekers crossing the seas to the EU.

Some 75 per cent of all refugees and migrants who die trying to cross borders drown in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Many asylum seekers come from landlocked countries with little open water and access to learn how to swim.

Ms David said: "All of this has an effect on asylum-seekers’ chances of surviving a sea crossing, or of finding themselves in water if accommodated on a barge."