Dutch gov't decides against sheltering asylum seekers on offshore cruise ships
The Dutch government decided to scrap the idea of sheltering asylum seekers on cruise ships at sea. State Secretary Eric van der Burg (Asylum) told parliament that it is too complicated to supply ships on open water, and there are too many safety risks involved with reception at sea, NOS reports.
Last week, Van der Burg said the government was looking at the possibility of sheltering asylum seekers offshore. Refugees’ organization Vluchtelingenwerk Nederland called it an “absurd” idea. “You don’t need research to think that you can’t do that to people who have fled from war and violence. You take in asylum seekers as a society and not from a distance at sea.”
The Cabinet will go through with its plans to hire three cruise ships for asylum shelter but wants to moor them at a quay. “As it looks now,” the first ship will dock in Velsen, Van der Burg said. He is currently examining how to make the quay suitable for the reception of about a thousand people from September 1.
Van der Burg said that the asylum application center in Ter Apel is still overcrowded, but no one had to sleep outside in the past few days. Municipalities are stepping up and arranging emergency shelters. But he warned that this is a “very short term” solution. “The challenges in the coming weeks and months will remain significant, especially for Ter Apel.”
The municipalities made clear that they would stop arranging emergency shelters from October 1.