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Bid to house refugees on Swedish cruise ships

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Bid to house refugees on Swedish cruise ships
Refugees could soon be accommodated on cruise ships like the one above. Photo: AP/TT
12:03 CET+01:00
Refugees could be housed on Swedish cruise ships in a bid to ease the urgent asylum accommodation shortage as winter sets in, migration authorities have said.

Willis Åberg, accommodation chief of the Swedish Migration Agency, said that several shipping companies have been in touch with the agency to offer ships.

“I expect that cruise ships will provide thousands of places for refugees,” Åberg said.

“These ships should serve as proper asylum accommodation where asylum seekers can be throughout the period of investigation which is usually about one year.”

The plan is to moor the vessels where there are sufficiently large harbours. Åberg cites the examples of Stockholm, Gothenburg, Malmö, Oskarshamn, Uddevalla and Gävle.

READ ALSO: German state considers housing refugees on ships 

The migration agency this week asked shipping companies to tender to offer ships for accommodation purposes and Åberg hopes to have the first asylum seekers ensconced on a cruise ship soon.

“I am optimistic that we will have the first ship ready before Christmas,” he told Swedish newspaper, Aftonbladet.

At the beginning of the month, Sweden's Migration Minister Morgan Johansson urged refugees in northern Germany to stay put, after declaring that Sweden was unable to guarantee beds for all asylum seekers.

50,000 more refugees are expected before the end of 2015 and efforts to erect four tent camps have been delayed, although work on one has started in Skåne in southern Sweden.

Some newly-arrived refugees have been forced to sleep outside as temperatures in Sweden drop below freezing.

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