A 2nd cruise ship berthed on the Clyde is to be used to house Ukrainian refugees arriving in Scotland from September.
The Scottish Government will charter a second vessel in Greenock-Glasgow (Clydeport) after being forced to halt the super sponsor scheme for 3 months amid a surge in visa applications and accommodation shortages.
The vessel is expected to be fully operational by next month. MS Ambition will offer the same facilities as the first ship, Tallink Victoria I, which is docked in Leith-Edinburgh (Newhaven-Rosyth-Queensferry) and has 739 staterooms to house between 1,600-1,700 refugees.
Welfare groups called for refugees to be rehoused ASAP.
According to Gary Christie, Head of Policy at the Scottish Refugee Council, it acknowledged cruise ships were a response to an emergency situation but it was seeking assurances from the SNP government that “any temporary accommodation considered meets international standards for the reception of displaced people.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson announced:
“The Scottish Government is continuing to explore all options to ensure that there is sufficient and safe accommodation for displaced people from Ukraine arriving in Scotland.
"This includes the current passenger ship, docked in Edinburgh, which has received a very positive reception from the people on board.
“The welfare of all displaced Ukrainians staying across the country remains the Scottish Government’s absolute priority and we are seeing high numbers of displaced people arriving in Scotland through the successful Super Sponsor Scheme – the most per head of any of the four nations across the UK.
"Nearly 12,000 displaced people from Ukraine with a Scottish sponsor have now arrived – 15.5% of all UK arrivals.”