War in Ukraine: Second cruise ship to house Ukrainian refugees arrives in Glasgow
The second cruise ship chartered to house Ukrainian refugees has arrived in Glasgow and will welcome its first residents once checks have been carried out.
The MS Ambition, which has 714 cabins, has been chartered for six months and will be located at King George V docks on the River Clyde.
As with the arrangements for the MS Victoria docked in Leith, passengers will join and leave the ship via shuttle bus services, which will run 24 hours a day.
People on board the vessel will have access to restaurants, child play facilities, shops, cleaning and communal spaces. They will be free to come and go from the ship, as with any other temporary accommodation.
Refugees minister Neil Gray said: “The Scottish Government is providing accommodation that is safe and sustainable while people are waiting to be matched to suitable longer-term accommodation. The arrival of the MS Ambition in Glasgow is a key part of that provision, which means we are providing sanctuary to more displaced people per head of population than any other part of the UK.
“We are working closely with the council and other local partners to finalise plans for how the ship will be used, with safeguarding of the people on board being the absolute priority.
"Now that the MS Ambition has arrived, this work will begin at pace and people will move on board once the Scottish Government and Glasgow City Council are satisfied that the necessary preparations, including health and safety checks, have been satisfied.”
“We do not want people spending more time in temporary accommodation, such as the cruise ships, for any longer than is absolutely necessary. We continue to take significant action to increase our temporary accommodation capacity as well as boosting our matching system to maximise the number of people who can be placed with volunteer hosts who have completed the necessary safeguarding checks.”
The ship is part of a government contract worth up to £100 million with Corporate Travel Management (North) Ltd to source and provide travel-related services for displaced people from Ukraine, which includes accommodation in hotels and on the MS Victoria I and MS Ambition.
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: "When I first heard that new refugees were to be housed in a cruise ship, I was immediately concerned about the safety and suitability of this accommodation.
"The operators are doing all they can to make these ships comfortable, but at best this is a short-term fix, not a long-term solution. These boats may be liveable now, but there are real risks of conditions deteriorating as they fill up and winter sets in.”
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