The Home Office has insisted that the Bibby Stockholm Barge at Portland Port can still hold 500 people, amid reports that the capacity has been reduced to 425.

The Guardian has reported that the capacity of the barge has been reduced to 425.

It comes after an internal fire risk assessment from barge contractor CTM last updated on August 2, says that while technical capacity is 600, “realistically, since the second floor has been reconfigured and cabin configuration has been determined 425 has been fixed as planned service user occupation."

The fire risk assessment also estimates it would take five-and-a-half minutes to evacuate 425 people in the event of a fire.

The Home Office has denied reports that the capacity has been reduced and insists that the barge can still accommodate 500 asylum seekers.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The capacity of the Bibby Stockholm remains around 500. The number of people onboard the vessel at any one time is likely to vary due to a number of factors, including individuals exiting the asylum system once a decision has been made.

“The Bibby Stockholm is part of the government’s pledge to reduce the use of expensive hotels and bring forward alternative accommodation options which provide a more cost-effective, sustainable and manageable system for the UK taxpayer and local communities."