Sweden's Asylum Seeker Cruise Ship Up For Sale

By ,   August 23, 2016 ,   Cruise Industry

A luxury cruise ship that was planned to house asylum seekers in Sweden before country's migration authority changed its mind was put up for sale by the owner.

Floating Accommodations claims that a sale may be necessary to cover losses they would incur if Migrationsverket (Swedish migration agency) fails to pay a 54M kronor ($6.44M) bill the company has sent to the agency for the costs of running the ship.

The US-based shipping magnate sent out two invoices totalling the mammoth fee earlier in August, despite Migrationsverket insisting that their agreement to house asylum seekers on the vessel has been null and void since July.

And the 40,000 GT Ocean Gala is now up for sale for a price of around $20 million.

The attempted sale is the latest twist in a long-winded dispute between the ship’s owners and various Swedish entities, including the migration board and a local authority.

The affair started in February when Sweden signed a deal to lodge 1,800 asylum seekers aboard the ship, with its planned port of call Utansjö, in Härnösand on the Baltic Sea.

Härnösand municipality vetoed hosting the ship however. The Swedish migration board accepted that decision, before scrapping the deal with the firm entirely in July, arguing that the necessary requirements had not been met.

Though Härnösand municipality banned the vessel from docking at Utansjö, shipowners opted to lodge it there anyway. An appeal against that ban was subsequently thrown out.