More than two thousand people from war-torn Ukraine have taken refuge on cruise ships docked in Scotland over the past six months. An agreement between the Scottish local government and the shipowner is coming to an end on one of the vessels this March.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 caused a humanitarian crisis, with millions of Ukrainians displaced and seeking refuge. The Scottish Government has contracted two cruise ships MS Ambition in Glasgow and MS Victoria in the Port of Leith, Edinburgh, to serve those fleeing the war.
The ships include a placement office. In addition, the Scottish Refugee Council, an independent charity, helps refugees by holding weekly information sessions on board. It also undertakes activities to help them find new housing.
The Scottish Government’s contract with MS Ambition’s shipowner, Ambassador Cruise Line, will end on 31 March. The authorities have mentioned working with local officials based in Glasgow to find permanent accommodation for the families who have called the ship their home.
On a ship owned by Estonian shipowner Tallink – MS Victoria – the contract has been extended until the end of June this year.