Costa Cruises has offered to provide Costa Magica to the Italian government should it need additional accommodation options amid the growing Ukrainian refugee crisis due to the Russian invasion of the country.
Costa Cruises will provide Costa Magica as a temporary floating hotel for refugees fleeing Ukraine, which has been subjected to Russian artillery and aerial bombardment, creating the largest refugee crisis in Europe since the Second World War.
The 2,600-capacity cruise ship was built in 2004 and is currently out of service ahead of its transfer to Carnival Cruise Line later this year.
It is currently docked in La Spezia and is available should the Italian government need it, according to Costa.
The Italian government has made preparations to accommodate around 175,000 Ukrainian refugees, while some 53,600, including 27,000 women and 21,600 children, have come to Italy so far following Russia’s invasion of their country on February 24th, according to Reuters.
“We have offered the Italian Government the Costa Magica to be integrated into the National Civil Protection’s plans as a potential temporary hub for Ukrainian refugees, should the number of arrivals in Italy increase in the coming weeks as a result of prolonged conflict,” Costa Cruises said in a statement.
“Our thoughts are with those affected, including the families of our many Ukrainian employees who are understandably concerned for their loved ones,” it added.
“As an immediate support to the needs of the population affected by the impact of the conflict, we have already donated medical supplies and medicines necessary for the treatment of injuries and common diseases,” the cruise line said.
This isn’t the first time cruise ships have been earmarked to fill a temporary accommodation need. In 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Carnival Corporation entered talks with the US government for its ships to be used as floating hospitals, and accommodation or quarantine sites.
The cruise industry has also stepped up to support Ukraine, with all major cruise lines cancelling their Russian port calls, and providing support to Ukrainian and Russian crew members worried about the events taking place at home.