Plan for cruise ship to house 500 asylum seekers in Liverpool UK scrapped

   June 10, 2023 ,   Cruise Industry

The UK government's proposal to accommodate asylum seekers on a cruise vessel in Liverpool Harbour (England) has been abandoned after port officials denied permission for the controversial plan.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman had intended to house 500 men on the vessel while their future was determined. However, the plan for Birkenhead was scrapped due to objections from Peel Ports, the local port authority.

The government was seeking alternative options to hotels for housing asylum seekers and believed that using barges or cruise ships would make the UK a less attractive destination. This setback follows a recent rejection from the Royal Docks in London City/Greenwich, which declined to allow a barge to be moored near London City Airport. London Mayor Mr. Khan publicly expressed his opposition to the idea and supported the decision of the Royal Docks.

Scott Derben, the managing director of London's Royal Docks, explained that the Home Office approached them to explore the feasibility of using a cruise ship to house asylum seekers. After investigation, it was determined that the Royal Docks were not suitable for this purpose, and the Home Office was informed of the decision in May.

Mr. Khan emphasized London's history of providing sanctuary to those seeking refuge and expressed deep concerns about the government's policy of housing asylum seekers on barges. He argued that there was no evidence to suggest that barge accommodation would deter individuals from coming to Britain and raised concerns about the unsuitable conditions and the potential risk of targeting by far-right protests for those housed on the boats.

Meanwhile, Rishi Sunak claimed that his commitment to "stop the boats" was yielding results, announcing that two additional large vessels would be used for accommodating migrants. The Prime Minister did not disclose the specific locations where the new barges would be moored, but there has been speculation that Liverpool and Middlesbrough are possibilities.