Ship to house asylum seekers ready to depart for Netherlands
A large cruise ship commissioned by the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers and the government is ready to depart from Estonia for the Netherlands. It will be used to house 1,000 asylum seekers who have no other housing options, according to the NOS.
However, it is still unclear when the ship, the Silja Europa, will actually begin its voyage to its docking point at Velsen. The municipality told the NOS that it was not known whether or when the ship could be docked at Velsen, where there is considerable resistance to the plan.
"Think about healthcare. One general practitioner already has 4,100 patients here, you can be happy that if you make an appointment now, you can come in 14 days," said one resident of Velsen-Noord to the NOS. The village of 5,300 people is not the only one to object to hosting a ship for asylum seekers –– Vlissingen's municipal council also pushed back against the reception of a ship.
The COA has already announced, however, that it will provide its own doctors for the asylum seekers who will live on the ship. Along with the Rijkswaterstaat and municipality, the COA is preparing the location at Velsen for the arrival of the ship, the NOS reports. Strong piles have been set up on the quay to secure the ship in case of bad weather, for example.
A spokesperson for the shipping company that delivered the Silja Europa to Tallinn, where it is waiting to depart for the Netherlands, confirmed the ship was ready to leave. “But what happens to the ship after we deliver it here in the port of Tallinn as agreed is something the COA team will have to explain and answer," she told the NOS. The COA is unable to give a definitive answer to this question.