Adams considers housing asylum seekers on cruise ships amid questions about cost and environmental cost

New details about the cost of emergency shelter on Randall’s Island raise questions about the viability of housing asylum seekers on a docked cruise ship that could cost the city millions and have unintended environmental consequences.

Mayor Eric Adams’ office said a proposal to house asylum seekers on a cruise ship parked on the Staten Island waterfront surfaced weeks ago and remains an option.

Details on how the cruise ship plan works are not available. Politicians and other local officials said that most of the information they get about shelter plans for asylum seekers is through the press. But a review of the previous use of emergency cruise ships, as well as past controversies surrounding ships in New York City, show that they are too costly to operate and harmful to the environment.

Vito Vossella, president of the Staten Island Borough, said city officials told him a deal with the cruise line wasn’t imminent — but it was under consideration because it might be more affordable than setting up tent shelters.

“For lack of a better ferry, it was cheaper to get on the cruise ship than to build these tents,” said Vosella, who opposes the proposal. “I have no knowledge of the numbers or any of that, other than that’s why I’m looking into it.”

But it is unclear how fares for cruise ships can be more expensive than tent hulls or housing homeless asylum seekers in hotels.

In Mississippi, FEMA has temporarily housed people displaced by Hurricane Katrina in trailers on private property that cost an average of $30,000 each, according to a 2007 report from the United States. Government Accountability Office.

Federal officials also signed a controversial six-month contract with Carnival Cruise Lines to temporarily house more than 8,000 people on ships moored in New Orleans. Agency Pay $236 million carnival.

Zach Escoll, the city’s emergency management commissioner, confirmed Tuesday The city spent nearly $650,000 to dismantle tents for asylum seekers at flood-prone Orchard Beach and Reassemble it on Randall’s Island.

The mayor has been clear that he is considering many options to address this crisis. “If a cruise ship is selected to temporarily place asylum seekers, we will make it public,” a city council spokesperson said.

A Norwegian Cruise Line spokesperson confirmed that the mayor contacted the company about chartering a cruise ship, but that “no agreement has been reached.” Negotiations reportedly centered on chartering one of the company’s ships for at least six months and mooring it at Stapleton Pier near Waterfront Park on the North Shore, Staten Island.

Asylum seekers will be temporarily housed there before being placed in the city’s shelter system.

according to New York PostThe city is now in talks with other cruise line companies, including Carnival, which the company denies.

“Carnival Cruise Line is not in any discussions about using our ships on charters, including in New York,” a company spokesperson told Gothamist.

Using an anchored cruise ship also raises environmental concerns. Ships at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, for example, have long been the subject of complaints from Red Hook residents.

One cruise ship parked in the port emits some diesel exhaust 34400 Trailer. Cruise ships off the Brooklyn waterfront produce 1,200 tons of carbon dioxide, 25 tons of nitrous oxide, and tons of hazardous particulates each year, according to 2019. The New York Times Report.

Adam Armstrong, who said he recently left Red Hook due to cruise ship pollution, said neighborhoods around the station are bearing the brunt of the industry.

“Everything is adjacent to really dense apartment blocks,” Armstrong said. “You have the biggest NYCHA complex in Brooklyn right there with communities that are really affected by all kinds of factors, not just environmental, but socioeconomic, and you know, it’s kind of crazy.”

The majority of ships moored at cruise ship terminals in Brooklyn and Manhattan run on diesel fuel, which has been linked to asthma, cancer and other serious health conditions, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Con Edison emphasized that Red Hook cruise ships rarely use an eco-friendly, grid-connected “connection station”. This station is not available on Staten Island.

Carolina Salguero, founder and CEO of the non-profit organization PortSide New York, emphasized that a cruise ship docked long-term in New York City waters is very different from loading and unloading passengers. She wondered about the disposal of sewage and the access of asylum seekers to clean water on the cruise ship.

Alexa Aviles, a council member who represents Red Hook, has opposed any plan to put immigrants on cruise ships.

“We are approaching winter. Can you imagine getting the option of staying on a cruise ship in the middle of winter in New York Harbor?” Aviles said. “It doesn’t even make any sense. How do people get in and out? Just the whole thing is ridiculous.”

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