THE Scottish Government has chartered a second cruise ship to provide temporary accommodation for Ukrainian refugees arriving in Scotland.

Last month, Ukrainians in Edinburgh were moved on board the MS Victoria, a cruise ship currently docked at a port in Leith which is expected to host up to 700 refugees.

Following this, the Scottish Government has now chartered a second ship, the MS Ambition, which will be located in Glasgow.

The ship can accommodate up to 1750 people and is due to be fully operational by September.

The National: National Extra Scottish politics newsletter banner

Minister with Special Responsibility for Refugees from Ukraine Neil Gray said: “The Scottish Government’s Super Sponsor Scheme has now enabled more than 10,000 people to come to Scotland following the humanitarian crisis caused by Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.

“Unfortunately, there is currently no end to the war in sight. We are firmly focused on supporting displaced people from Ukraine who are seeking sanctuary in Scotland as they flee the war in their homeland.

“Following the arrival of the M/S Victoria I – which has been well received by people on board – the Scottish Government is chartering a second passenger ship – the M/S Ambition – which will be located in Glasgow from early September.

“This will further enhance our ability to provide safe and secure accommodation for those who need it.”

The first cruise ship in Edinburgh has been well-received by Ukrainians living on-board, who have access to Ukrainian TV channels and have even been cooked Ukrainian food by the ship’s staff.

Scotland has welcomed 13,257 refugees from Ukraine since the start of the war, with 10,056 arriving into the country under the Super Sponsor Scheme, which was paused last month. 

READ MORE: Scotland's 'super sponsor' scheme for Ukrainian refugees paused amid demand surge

Originally, the Scottish Government committed to hosting 3000 people. However, the total number of visas issued under the scheme is now 33,900.

But Gray said that accommodation for them all is in limited supply.

He added: “We are getting close to capacity for the temporary accommodation currently available, particularly across the Central Belt.

“While areas like Glasgow and Edinburgh are more familiar to Ukrainians, we are encouraging everyone arriving here to consider other areas across Scotland, especially as we see more visas being issued.

“We can guarantee that anyone arriving here will receive a warm welcome from communities across the country, keen to provide support and open their homes.

“As a humanitarian crisis requiring a whole-of-Scotland response, the Scottish Government continues to work closely with local councils and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities to ensure those displaced people who are already here, and those who have applied and are granted permission to travel, will be safe, secure and supported for as long as they need.”

The Scottish Government has promised the same level of facilities and support available at the cruise ship in Edinburgh for those set to be housed on the vessel in Glasgow.