An asylum seeker on board the Bibby Stockholm asylum barge has died, it is understood.

Three police cars were seen in the courtyard outside the barge in the secure port at around 6.44am this morning.

Further details of the incident are yet to be confirmed.

The first asylum seekers were brought back to the giant vessel, moored in Portland, Dorset, in October, some two months after it was evacuated following the discovery of Legionella bacteria in the water supply.

The person's age and country of origin are not yet known, it is understood.

A Home Office spokesperson said:  “We are aware of reporting of an incident involving an asylum seeker on the Bibby Stockholm.   

 “It would be inappropriate to comment further at this time” 

A spokesperson for Dorset Police said: "At 6.22am on Tuesday, December 12, Dorset Police received a report of a sudden death of a resident on the Bibby Stockholm. Officers are conducting enquiries into the circumstances of the incident. The coroner’s office has been notified of the death."

Mayor of Portland, Carralyn Parkes, said: "It is inexpressibly sad to hear someone has died on the Bibby Stockholm.

"We have no clear information as to the cause of death.

"Whatever it was, it is so terribly sad that someone's life has come to an end on the Bibby Stockholm.

"I can't imagine what is happening on board.

"My heartfelt condolences go to the family and friends of the person who died and the people on the Bibby Stockholm.

"It is a terribly sad thing to happen.

"My message to asylum seekers is: If you can hear this, stay strong and know there are people in the community who care about what is happening to you."

Steve Smith, CEO of refugee charity Care4Calais: ‘Our thoughts are with the person who has lost their life, their family and their friends. It is also with all those stuck on board the Bibby Stockholm who will be experiencing a deep feeling of grief and worry today.

‘The UK Government must take responsibility for this human tragedy. They have wilfully ignored the trauma they are inflicting on people who are sent to the Bibby Stockholm, and the hundreds being accommodated in former military barracks. They are being separated from the rest of society and we have witnessed a serious deterioration of people’s mental health. We have regularly been reporting suicidal intentions amongst residents and no action is taken.

‘This can no longer continue. Asylum seekers are human beings, many of whom have experienced the worst traumas imaginable through war, torture and persecution. It’s time our political leaders treated them as human beings, listened to the trauma they have experienced and offered them sanctuary. The Government’s proxy-war against refugees is costing lives.’

More to follow.