[Ed. – Brilliant. Nothing could go wrong there.]
A luxury cruise ship which spent decades crossing the sun-drenched waters of the Caribbean and the Mediterranean could be en route for Sweden’s chilly Baltic coast to be converted into an asylum centre.
Sweden’s Migration Agency is close to signing a deal with charter company US Shipmanagers to bring the 1,790-passenger Ocean Gala to Sweden, planning to berth it in Harnosand, a small port 270 miles north of Stockholm.
“I am extremely pleased. This means that we are prepared, so that we’re not going to end up in a situation where we can’t offer a roof over people’s heads,” Willis Åberg, accommodation chief at Sweden’s Migration Agency, told the Aftonbladet newspaper.
The agency is engaged a desperate race to find new beds before spring, when off-season winter contracts to house asylum seekers signed with hundreds of hotels and campsites are due to expire.
The agency also fears that the influx of asylum seekers, now down to a manageable 700 a week from unprecedented rates of 10,000 a week in November, will pick up again in the coming months as warm weather returns to Greece and Italy and tens of thousands of Syrians are forced from their homes.