former ocean liner to house around 300 asylum seekers in netherlands amid wider housing shortage
From the end of August, Dutch authorities are set to house dozens of asylum seekers on board the ‘Ocean Majesty’ – a former cruise ship docked in Velsen, located around 30 km west of the capital Amsterdam, until the end of 2024.
The people who are due to stay on the vessel already have residence permits. They are waiting for accommodation on land to free up amid a wider housing shortage in the country. About 135 m long, the Ocean Majesty used to be a popular resort ship catering mainly to Germans.
“This is not a holiday resort but accommodation because of the lack of other reception places,” a spokesperson for the Dutch asylum authorities told the German news agency dpa on Wednesday. The former luxury facilities on the vessel will be stripped out to provide basic accommodation.
Larger Ship Moored In Rotterdam Housing More Migrants
This isn’t the first cruise ship the Netherlands will be using to house migrants and asylum seekers. About 200 m long, the Silja Europe is still being used to house some 1,200 people while authorities wait for a more permanent housing solution.
In the past, authorities had even deployed the Bibby Stockholm, an engineless barge, which is now helping British authorities offer shelter to the arriving migrants. The Netherlands and neighbouring Belgium have been experiencing an acute housing shortage since last summer.
With insufficient social housing, a number of people are compelled to stay in asylum hostels, even after receiving a residence permit. The central government is now calling for interim solutions from local municipalities, such as housing people on decommissioned ships.