The arrival of the first group of asylum seekers to be housed on the controversial Bibby Stockholm barge comes despite concerns over safety standards.

Just last week, the Fire Brigades Union wrote to Home Secretary Suella Braverman to raise concerns over fire safety in asylum seeker accomodation, including the Bibby Stockholm.

Firefighters would be called upon to respond to any fires aboard the barge. 

The union expressed concern about a potential lack of ingress and exit points; narrow corridors and doorways; and increased occupancy.

The barge was originally built to house 222 people but is now expected to house more than 500.

Nicola David, of refugee charity One Life to Live, has published a review highlighting fears the barge could become a "floating Grenfell", in reference to the west London tower block tragedy in 2017.

It details concerns that evacuating the barge in the event of a fire, or any other emergency, such as a sudden ingress of water, could prove an 'impossible challenge.' 

“All of my research, and everyone I’ve spoken to, indicates that the rot found in the hull during its time in dry dock, and the overcrowding on the barge, render the barge entirely unsafe from the point of view of additional weight and inherent fire risks," said Ms David.

"Add to this the extremely narrow corridors, windows that can’t be used for escape, no lifejackets, no fire drills, and a tiny and inescapable evacuation compound surrounded by insurmountable fencing and locked gates.

“In an emergency, the sense of panic could only be heightened by smoke, potentially dim emergency lighting, disorientation, and – for those without sufficient English – an inability to respond to verbal instructions.

"I just don't see how everyone could get off the barge, or be immediately safe once off the barge, in the event of a serious incident. Bibby Stockholm feels like a disaster waiting to happen.”

A Home Office spokesperson said last week the Bibby Stockholm was undergoing final preparations to 'ensure it complied with all appropriate regulations' before the arrival of the first asylum seekers.

"In addition, the Home Office is working with stakeholders on a carefully structured plan to increase the number of asylum seekers at Wethersfield in a phased approach."