Desperate Sweden is forced to hire luxury cruise liner with theatre, gym and swimming pool to house 2,000 refugees at a cost of £65,000 A DAY
- The Swedish Migration Board rented the Ocean Gala for £65,000 a day
- Cruise liner boasts a swimming pool, theatre and numerous restaurants
- Officials admitted they needed to ‘think outside the box’ to deal with crisis
- But locals living in town of Härnösand object to it mooring in their harbour
Thousands of migrants are being given rooms aboard a luxury ocean liner which comes complete with a theatre and swimming pool because Sweden can no longer cope with the numbers arriving at its borders every week, it has been revealed.
Sweden’s Migration Board is renting the Ocean Gala – once the world’s largest cruise liner where holidaymakers pay £2,500 for a two-week break – for at least the next year at the eye-watering cost of of £65,000 a day.
When the giant cruise ship is full it will provide bed and board for 1,790 migrants – about the number arriving in the country every single day at the height of the crisis.
A spokesman said: ‘Having a theatre sounds really nice. Those who are going to stay at the ship will probably have to do that for quite a bit of time while their applications are being processed. So they need every encouragement they can get.’
However, at that cost they will not enjoy the same luxuries afforded those who paid as much as £2,500 for a two-week cruise during the ships previous incarnation as the Island Escape, then owned by Thomson Cruises.
The 768 cabins on the 623-foot ship, which range from smartly turned out but snug doubles, to expansive suites with private dining areas and balconies, was then a haven for those in search of entertainment, sunbathing and sightseeing.
But those who make it their home in the next year will not be treated to all the extras holidaymakers who floated around the Med were used to enjoying, including a casino, outdoor pool and even a beauty salon.
In fact, if the Swedish Migration Board is successful in finding a spot in the northern port of Härnösand, where temperatures are currently firmly below freezing.
Willis Åberg, head of housing issues at the Swedish Migration Board, boasted that the organisation was ‘thinking outside the box’.
‘Those who are going to stay in the boat will of course be a bit cramped in the cabins, so it is really important that we arrange for them to have large common areas outside,’ he told MailOnline.
‘But having a theatre sounds really nice. Those who are going to stay at the ship will probably have to do that for quite a bit of time while their applications are being
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