Scottish Government to end contract for cruise ship used to house Ukrainians

Ukrainian refugees currently living in a cruise ship are to be moved off the boat and into “longer term accommodation”, the Scottish Government has said.

It confirmed that the contract to use the MS Ambition, which is currently docked near Glasgow, would come to an end on March 31 this year.

Neil Gray, the minister with special responsibility for refugees from Ukraine, said use of the vessel – currently home to about 1,170 Ukrainians, including 420 children – was always intended to be a temporary measure.

He added that the Scottish Government would now look to make “full use” of both existing and new volunteer hosts to provide somewhere to stay for the refugees.

In December the Scottish Government extended its contract for the MS Victoria for another five months (Jane Barlow/PA)
In December the Scottish Government extended its contract for the MS Victoria for another five months (Jane Barlow/PA)

The announcement that its use is being ended comes after ministers last month extended the contract for another ship being used to house refugees, the MS Victoria which is docked outside Edinburgh, for a further five months.

Mr Gray said: “The MS Ambition was a temporary measure to ensure Scotland could respond to the humanitarian crisis facing people in Ukraine and provide an immediate place of safety for displaced people.

“Our focus now is to secure sustainable longer term accommodation for the Ukrainians currently on MS Ambition and in other welcome accommodation to ensure they have the support they need to build a home in Scotland for as long as they need it.

“This includes making full use of existing and new volunteer hosts. I’m extremely grateful to people who are already hosting, as well as those who have already put their details forward and are still waiting to be matched.

“And I encourage anyone considering becoming a host to come forward and provide a warm welcome.”