AN inquest is to be opened into the death of an asylum seeker who died on the Bibby Stockholm barge.

Dorset Police confirmed that a man had died aboard the accommodation vessel, based at Portland Port, on December 12.

The 27-year-old from Albania was later identified as Leonard Farruku.

Home Secretary James Cleverly said that the man’s sudden death would be “fully” investigated and Rachael Griffin, senior coroner for Dorset, has confirmed an inquest into his death would open on Thursday, December 21.

The preliminary hearing is normally held to formally establish the deceased’s identity, location of death and potentially a cause of death before being adjourned for a full hearing at a later date.

The Daily Telegraph, which first reported the deceased’s name, has stated that he paid 4000 euros to cross the English Channel in a small boat to arrive in the country.

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His sister Jola Dushku, 33, who lives in Lombardy in Italy, told the newspaper: “When I spoke with him last time, he told me that the conditions in that boat were not bad but they were treated by the guards like animals.

“According to our relatives who are in touch with the police, Leonard that night at 11pm in the evening had some problems and was calmed down by the security guard.

“At 3am he was found dead. We do not have more details about how he died.”

Home Office permanent secretary Sir Matthew Rycroft last week revealed in a letter to MPs that the cost of the Bibby Stockholm contract was £22,450,772.

He stated that this covered the “vessel accommodation services” portion of the contract with operators CTM.

He said the assessment of whether the vessel offered value for money was “currently being updated”.

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The barge – the first to be used as part of Government efforts to cut the cost of asylum accommodation – has capacity to house up to 500 single men in around 200 bedrooms.

Asylum seekers were first moved on board in August but evacuated days later after the discovery of Legionella, the bacteria which can cause the potentially fatal Legionnaires’ disease, in the water supply.

Migrants were taken back to the barge some two months later and Home Office interim second permanent secretary Simon Ridley told MPs in November that there were around 200 people on board.

The plan has attracted considerable opposition, prompting legal challenges and protests, with campaigners branding it cruel and inhumane.

News of the death drew criticism from charities who called for an independent review and an end to the use of such facilities for asylum accommodation, and criticised the conditions on board.