Could Dutch prison ship be used to house transit migrants?

The Federal Government reported is considering using a Dutch prison ship to house transmit migrants. VRT News has learned from a reliable source that the government is considering renting the ship from the Dutch authorities. However, the prison ship won’t be available for the next 6 months and wouldn’t solve the immediate issues related to the transit migrants.

Transit migrants are at the top of the agenda of Friday morning’s meeting of the Federal Cabinet. Ministers need to find a workable solution to housing the transit migrants before they can either be sent back to the country in which they initially entered the EU or back to their countries of origin if this is possible. Up until now there had been talk of 160 extra places in a secure facilities.

"But now we are hearing rumours that they intend to hire a prison ship or barge from the Netherlands and dock it in one of the ports” VRT News’ political editor Johny Vansevenant told VRT Radio 1’s morning news and current affairs programme ‘De ochtend’.

However, as the prison ship won’t be available for the next 6 months  “It doesn’t offer a solution straight away. The municipal elections are coming up and that creates more tension. What can you do in the meantime? Should extra places be created in other secure centres?"   

The idea of using a prison ship comes from the Secretary of State responsible for asylum and migration Theo Francken (Flemish nationalist). However, the Flemish Christian democrat Deputy Prime Minister Kris Peeters told VRT News that he is not entirely convinced.

“The question is whether this provides an adequate and efficient solution. It could provide a lot of additional places, but it will also cost quite a lot of money”, Mr Peeters said.