Zaanstad refugee boat plan scuppered by nitrogen crisis
A boat to house over 1,000 refugees from Ukraine which should have been moored on the IJ waterway at Zaanstad will not now be used as temporary accommodation, because of the nitrogen pollution crisis.
The generators on board cruise ship Aurelia, which has space for 1,078 people, create too much nitrogren-compound pollution, making it unsuitable for the location, local officials say.
The local council said in May it would look into the options of using the ship as a temporary home for people fleeing the war in Ukraine. ‘We have looked at all sorts of measures to limit the nitrogen emissions but they will not allow us to keep to the nitrogen rules,’ the council said in a statement.
Last week, junior justice minister Eric van der Burg, who is charged with dealing with refugees, said the cabinet had commissioned three cruise ships to come to the Netherlands to act as refugee centres and ease the crisis at regular camps.
He also said that the option of anchoring the ships offshore was being looked at, because of the lack of suitable moorings.
One is due to dock in Velsen Noord and another had been due to go to Vlissingen, but that has since been cancelled.
Refugee aid group VluchtelingenWerk described the idea of placing asylum seekers offshore as ‘absurd’.
Update Tuesday afternoon: Plans to moor a cruise ship in Velsen are also now in doubt because the infrastructure ministry’s waterways department says the ship is too big to be moored safely.
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