State still negotiating use of cruise ship for temporary refugee accommodation

The MS Baltic Queen at harbor in Tallinn.
The MS Baltic Queen at harbor in Tallinn. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

No final decision has been made about which cruise company's ship will be used to temporarily house Ukrainian refugees. The Social Insurance Board is still negotiating with companies.

"The deadline for submitting tenders for the procurement has passed, negotiations have also taken place, but at the moment there is no decision. It may change within the next few days," said the agency's Jako Salla. The deadline for applications was on Monday.

Salla said there are several reasons to use a ship, which could host between 2,000 and 3,000 people, one of which is that it can be used for longer than hotel rooms. Hotels that are currently providing accommodation have started to receive bookings for the upcoming summer.

"Also, large ships have good spacious rooms, conference rooms that can be used as classrooms. We can bring health services and counseling services there. It provides many opportunities, is safe and ensures easier organization," he said.

Salla said ministries and agencies discussed the issue on Wednesday morning.

Approximately 6,000 of the 22,000 refugees who have arrived in Estonia since February 27 need accommodation. The majority are staying with friends or family.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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