THE asylum seekers being housed onboard a barge by the UK Government are to be removed after Legionella bacteria was found in the water supply. 

The reports came on Friday morning, and at 4pm, the 39 asylum seekers were all still on board.

It comes just days after the first 15 people were placed into accommodation on the Bibby Stockholm barge in Dorset, which the immigration minister Robert Jenrick described as “perfectly decent accommodation”.

The bacteria can cause the serious lung infection known as Legionnaires’ disease when breathed in via water droplets.

It is believed that nobody on board the barge has shown signs of the disease and that asylum seekers are being removed as a precautionary measure.

Around 50 people were expected to move onboard the giant vessel but around 20 were granted a last-minute reprieve after a series of legal challenges.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The health and welfare of individuals on the vessel is our utmost priority.

“Environmental samples from the water system on the Bibby Stockholm have shown levels of Legionella bacteria which require further investigation.

“Following these results, the Home Office has been working closely with UKHSA and following its advice in line with long-established public health processes, and ensuring all protocol from Dorset Council’s environmental health team and Dorset NHS is adhered to.

“As a precautionary measure, all 39 asylum seekers who arrived on the vessel this week are being disembarked while further assessments are undertaken.

“No individuals on board have presented with symptoms of Legionnaires’, and asylum seekers are being provided with appropriate advice and support.

“The samples taken relate only to the water system on the vessel itself and therefore carry no direct risk indication for the wider community of Portland nor do they relate to fresh water entering the vessel. Legionnaires’ disease does not spread from person to person.”

Earlier this month the Home Office delayed moving asylum seekers onto the barge over fire safety fears, with a firefighters union describing the vessel as a “potential deathtrap”