NCL-Norwegian confirms talks with NYC for cruise ship charter/migrant housing

   October 5, 2022 ,   Cruise Industry

NYC-New York City may soon join the list of major port cities that have chartered cruise liners in order to augment overflowing shelter systems for migrants.

NCL-Norwegian Cruise Line has confirmed it had discussed the possibility of a charter with NY city officials, though no deal has been finalized yet. If it goes through, the deal will reportedly cover a single ship moored in Staten Island for 6 months. 

The capacity of NYC to house/shelter the homeless is limited. Since the beginning of summer 2022, the city has experienced an influx of ~15000 illegal immigrants, most of whom entered the USA in Texas, where Gov. Greg Abbott set up a busing program to encourage them to continue to NY. Eric Adams (NYC's Mayor) expects "thousands more to arrive every week", and his staff is looking at all options available to secure more housing. The city might eventually need to assist ~75000 new arrivals, Adams announced last week. 

The city government is setting up a tent shelter for arriving migrants at an operating cost of US$15 million per month. A liner would provide an affordable temporary solution in order to offer thousands of extra beds on a rapid timetable without interfering with neighboring land uses or taking up more shoreside space. 

Port of New York (Cape Liberty Bayonne NJ-NYC)

Image: Port of New York (Cape Liberty Bayonne NJ-NYC)

In Europe, cruise vessels and passenger ferries have been used for the purpose before, and they played a role in the COVID quarantine system for migrant arrivals in Italy during the crisis. Estonian ferry company Tallink is now providing temporary lodging for Ukrainian refugees close to Edinburgh (Scotland) and Tallinn (Estonia), and the company is rumored to be currently in talks with New York officials as well.