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Hotel barge makes its way up the River Medway from Upnor to Gillingham

A huge accommodation barge has been towed up the River Medway to its new home.

The boat, likely to be used as a temporary hotel for construction workers, slowly made its way from the GPS Marine yard near Upnor to a new mooring at Gillingham at about 9.20am.

Watch the barge heading to Gillingham from Upnor

Dan Spencer, operations director of the marine contractors, said: "The barge has been with us for a couple of months. It's just been temporarily moored at the yard.

"It has been moved about a mile away near The Strand because more room was needed for boat repair work."

Meanwhile, a similar vessel remains at the GPS base at Lower Upnor where it has spent the last four months undergoing extensive refurbishment.

A mystery businessman has bought the "boatel" which will be converted into 400 luxury holiday apartments to be moored in a Gibraltar marina.

The boat, known as Hillside and originally built for the Dutch Navy, had been languishing on the River Medway, near Rochester Riverside for the last eight years.

Once the project is complete, it will make the 1,500-mile voyage to the British-run territory in southern Spain.

The other barge will be making its way to Gibraltar
The other barge will be making its way to Gibraltar

GPS has been maintaining the barge since it arrived from Portsmouth where it was used by Royal Navy crews in the process of changing ships.

It's built on three main floors with air-conditioned residential rooms and ample leisure and communal area, including a bar, dance floor and, at one time, cinema or lecture theatre.

Speculation over the years included Medway Council using it for surplus housing and relief accommodation for the the UK's over-crowded prisons.

Back in 2015, it was suggested te vessel would be returning to Holland to house refugees.

Many are grateful the ship - regarded as an eyesore - will eventually be off to sunnier climes.

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