The UK government is plotting to acquire 10 unwanted cruise ships, ferries and barges to house asylum seekers.

According to The Guardian, Home Office officials have been told to look at all options to find extra accommodation capacity.

The newspaper has been told that one leading maritime company is also conducting a feasibility study into housing migrants on disused oil rigs.

This idea was rejected by ministers three years ago due to logistical and safety issues.

Ship purchases will cost millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money.

The government has already confirmed plans to lodge 400 migrants on Bibby Maritime’s 92-loa accommodation vessel Bibby Stockholm (built 1976) in Portland from June.

The first occupants are expected to be single men nearing the end of the asylum claims process.

The Guardian cited sources close to the government as saying that home secretary Suella Braverman is close to agreeing a deal to buy a 1,800-passenger cruise ship to be berthed in Liverpool.

But the report claims the hunt for vessels has delayed attempts to reduce the asylum backlog.

Hundreds of people are still arriving from across the English Channel each week.

Shortage of ships?

Home Office sources have said they do not have a target for the number of ships they plan to use.

And shipping sources point to a shortage of floatels as offshore construction demand has risen.

Other nations are also interested in using them to accommodate migrants.

Another potential purchase includes an old cruise ship from Indonesia.

The overall vessel plan could cost more than hotels at £7m ($8.7m) a day, the report said.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The pressure on the asylum system has continued to grow and requires us to look at a range of accommodation options which offer better value for money for taxpayers than hotels. This includes the potential use of vessels to provide accommodation.”