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Inside the abandoned floating hotel on the River Medway

A huge abandoned barge moored on the River Medway could be left rusting for years.

The 69-room floating hotel was towed from Portsmouth to Rochester in 2013 by GPS Marine Contractors, and was only meant to stay moored up for a short time.

The barge has been sat empty on the River Medway since 2014. Picture: Aerial Imaging South East
The barge has been sat empty on the River Medway since 2014. Picture: Aerial Imaging South East

But when the owner of the vessel went bust, the title of the mortgaged property was passed back over to the bank.

Dan Spencer, operations director of the marine contractors, said the bank has let it sit there unused for years while they pay to keep it there.

He said: "The bank has kind of abandoned it and don't want to pass ownership, and we have to pay for it to sit on the mooring.

"It's unbelievable, our bill is going up daily."

He added: "To try to get the title moved across we'd have to pay some obscene amount of money."

This room doubles up as a cinema
This room doubles up as a cinema

Mr Spencer's company deals primarily in flat-top barges designed to transport construction equipment, and if they were able to take on ownership they would consider cutting the top off and using it for that purpose.

But they have also considered other fates for the floating hotel.

He said: "It would be ideal for coronavirus isolation. A homeless charity also contacted us, but every time we try to do something there's always a block on it.

"For a homeless charity it would be ideal. We've got a housing crisis happening here in Medway, but if it exists there any longer it won't be economically viable to use."

In addition to the 69 rooms, the vessel has enough space to accommodate more than 200 people.

As well as toilets and showers, on deck it has a cinema capable of seating up to 80 people.

It was originally built for the Dutch Navy as a way of providing transportable accommodation.

After more than six years sat languishing in the river, Mr Spencer is concerned what could happen to it if it is neglected for much longer.

He said: "The longer it goes on the more the barge is going to ruin.

"It's sat there since 2014, without any work done to the hull of the barge; the condition of the hull is very good, but it depends how long it sits here."

"It would be ideal for coronavirus isolation..."

Over the past few years, there have been a number of people found breaking into the barge and squatting.

Kevin Harvey, owner of Maritime Solutions, said: "I had a customer living opposite calling me to tell me there were people living on the barge, they could see lights on inside.

"You frequently get idiots trying to get on there."

Read more: All the latest news from Medway

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