Plans to house refugees arriving in The Netherlands aboard cruise ships were described as illegal and “absurd”, as the government laid out the solution to overcrowded asylum centers.
3 large ships were commissioned and one is expected to be anchored in Velsen, close to IJmuiden (North Holland), although Dutch ministers are trying to find further willing ports.
Officials are examining how they can allow refugees free movement on/off the vessels in order to avoid claims that those aboard are being illegally held captive by the state. The move is necessary because of the lack of space in refugee centers in light of a large number of people fleeing the Russia-Ukraine war zone.
~3,000 refugees could be housed on the ships from September 2022 under plans agreed by the Dutch government earlier this week. Refugees were forced to sleep on the grass outside a refugee center in the village of Ter Apel due to a lack of space, which the government said would not be resolved for at least a fortnight.
The Dutch government further enraged NGOs by suggesting Ukrainians will not be put on the vessels unlike refugees from elsewhere.
VluchtelingenWerk, the council for refugees, described the idea of placing asylum seekers on cruise ships as “absurd”.