Norwegian Cruise Line in talks with NYC over using cruise ship to house migrants

The deployment of older and under-utilized cruise ships to house migrants looks set to spread from Europe to the US, with New York City and Norwegian Cruise Line in discussions about a long-term charter of a vessel by New York in order to find temporary homes for migrants.

If the deal goes through it would cover a single vessel moored in Staten Island for a term of six months, according to reports.

New York City has experienced an influx of about 15,000 immigrants since the beginning of the summer. Most entered the US via Texas, That state’s governor Greg Abbott has set up a busing programme that encourages the migrants to carry on moving north.

NYC Mayor Eric Adams said that the arrival of thousands more each week was expected for the foreseeable future; he said that his staff were looking at all available options to secure more housing. The city may eventually need to assist as many as 75,000 new arrivals, Adams said late in September.

The city government is setting up a large tent shelter for arriving migrants at a reported operating cost of $15mn per month. A cruise ship would provide an affordable temporary solution to provide thousands of extra beds on a rapid timetable – without taking up more shoreside space or interfering with neighbouring land uses.

In Europe, Estonian ferry operator Tallink is currently providing temporary lodging for Ukrainian refugees near Tallinn, Estonia and Edinburgh, Scotland – and the company is rumoured to be in talks with New York City officials as well.