Tallink leases two ships to Netherlands for temporary housing
Tallink Grupp on Thursday announced that it had signed contracts with Slaapschepen Public BV, an organization nominated by the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) in the Netherlands, for the short-term charter of two of its cruiseferries for use as temporary accommodations.
Typically operated on the Tallinn-Helsinki route, the MS Silja Europa has been least beginning August 20 and for a period of seven months, with the option to extend the lease by another three months, Tallink said in a press release.
The Silja Europa, which is slated to provide temporary accommodations in the Netherlands, was hired with Tallink's technical crew only.
The MS Galaxy, which is currently operating on the Turku-Stockholm route, has been leased to provide temporary accommodations in the Netherlands starting September 20, but likewise for a period of seven months and with the option to extend the agreement by another three.
The Galaxy was likewise hired together with the shipping company's technical crew only.
In Estonia, the MS Isabelle, docked permanently at Tallinn's Old City Harbor, has been used as temporary accommodations for refugees from Ukraine since early April.
The Social Insurance Board (SKA), the Estonian government institution in the leading role in accepting and providing aid to incoming war refugees in Estonia, recently extended its contract with Tallink through October 7.
The MS Isabelle can accommodate approximately 2,100 refugees.
Netherlands following Scottish, Estonian lead
Last month, Tallink signed the MS Victoria I to the Scottish government for use in Scotland as temporary accommodations beginning July 8.
Similarly to the contracts signed Thursday with the Dutch organization, the six month lease concluded in June with a company representing the Scottish government also included an option for a three-month extension.
The MS Victoria I had most recently operated on Tallink's Tallinn-Stockholm route.
While passenger numbers and demand on this route have bounced back this summer, the Estonian shipping company announced earlier this month that it nonetheless would not be adding a different second vessel to the route this year, citing high fuel costs.
The Estonian-Swedish route is currently being served solo by the MS Baltic Queen.
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Editor: Aili Vahtla