Barley and Marquardt call for cruise ships for refugees

Cruise ship with lifeboats, over dts
Cruise ship with lifeboats, over dts
Politicians from the SPD and the Greens are calling for cruise ships to be made available for the refugees on Lesvos who became homeless after the fire in the Moria refugee camp.

“The fire destroyed the few belongings that the refugees have left and they urgently need a roof over their heads. Ships with a hygiene concept can offer them short-term protection, ”said EU Parliament Vice-President Katarina Barley (SPD) to the“ editorial network Germany ”.

A humanitarian drama is currently taking place on Lesbos, according to the SPD politician. According to Barley, there are already "specific offers from shipping companies at cost". “The European Commission should respond quickly to this. The ships are a way of relieving both the refugees and the islanders in the short term, because both have become the plaything of the failed European asylum policy, "she said. The Green MEP Erik Marquardt also supports this idea. “Many ships have already developed hygiene concepts. Given the collapsed market for cruise travel, shipping companies are grateful for alternative sources of income, ”he told the RND. Cruise ships offer sufficient space and security. In addition, they met the standards for infection protection and provided an infrastructure for decent housing. "This would make dignified, orderly accommodation possible at very short notice," says Marquardt. The cruise operator "Phoenix Reisen" from Bonn is ready to help immediately. Johannes Zurnieden, managing director of Phoenix-Reisen, told the RND: “We are ready to send a ship to Lesbos to help the refugees and the island's population on site. It's not about money. We would also give the ship away for free. ”Zurnieden expresses concern at the plight of thousands of people on Lesbos. “We have ships that are useless here in Germany, while the people on Lesbos have no toilets and do not know where to sleep. A ship is definitely better than the roadside, ”he said.

The travel operator TUI also indicated its willingness to help. “Basically we are open to discussions and the use of ships,” said a company spokesman for the RND. However, the implementation of humanitarian protection and accommodation measures is a state task; TUI has "no competence", the spokesman restricted. Last week, Athens also initially considered accommodating the refugees on ships - two naval ships and a ferry were expected on Lesbos. So far, however, the refugees only have a tent camp that is currently being built as an alternative. 1.200 people - just under a tenth of the homeless - had moved into quarters there by Wednesday morning.

Of these, 35 people tested positive for the coronavirus. Thousands continue to wait on the streets and in the fields.