Thousands of individuals from Ukraine who fled the war since Russia invaded found themselves in an unusual situation over the past six months, trying to settle into life on the water on two cruise vessels docked in Scotland.
It was initially fascinating during the first few weeks, Andriy, who had left Ukraine with his wife, children, and few possessions, reported to BBC Scotland.
Andriy and his family are about 1,200 Ukrainians who’ve been calling the cruise vessel MS Ambition home since 2022’s September. Russia’s war in Ukraine in February 2022 caused a humanitarian crisis, with millions of Ukrainians being displaced and seeking much-needed shelter miles away from the war.
The government of Scotland had contracted two cruise vessels to serve as temporary shelters for Ukrainians fleeing the war, with the MS Ambition based in Glasgow and a second vessel docked in Edinburgh. That vessel, MS Victoria, has housed another 1,200 or so Ukrainians.
There is a job centre on the vessel, and the country’s government and city council advises them how to integrate there, Andriy informed the BBC, adding that the conditions on the ship had been and that his family was looking for a place where they could stay.
The Scottish Refugee Council, an independent charity, mentioned that the organization has been aiding refugees by conducting weekly information sessions on the ship. It is also ramping up to help seek new housing. The efforts include connecting local volunteers with refugees who are especially willing to host them.
The government of Scotland extended the contract for MS Victoria until June 2023, a decision that faced some criticism.
The Scottish government’s contract with the MS Ambition will end on 31 March. Authorities have mentioned collaborating with local officials based in Glasgow to find more permanent housing for families who’ve called the ship their home.
This is not a new life; it is a new limbo. Refugees from Ukraine deserve a more long-term and sustainable solution, Alex Cole-Hamilton, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader, said.
References: UK Daily, Business Insider