New York City uses cruise terminal as asylum accommodation

New York City has announced a new plan to use the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal as temporary housing for asylum seekers.

The terminal, which is set to become MSC Cruises’ home port later this year, will temporarily provide accommodation, meals, medical care and other services for up to 1,000 single men until spring until its original purpose as a cruise ship.

Controversy surrounding the use of the terminal as a shelter

New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced Jan. 21 that the city will soon open a fifth Humanitarian Emergency and Relief Center at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal to temporarily accommodate the ongoing influx of asylum seekers arriving in New York City to use.

This move by the city has drawn mixed reactions, with some housing advocates criticizing the plan, stating that the waterfront building would not be suitable for housing people due to the risk of flooding and that the cruise terminal would be set up with tents inside.

Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in New York
Brooklyn Cruise Terminal in New York (Photo: Leonard Zhukovsky / Shutterstock)

“With more than 41,000 asylum seekers arriving in New York City since last spring and nearly 28,000 asylum seekers currently in our care, our city is at its breaking point,” said Mayor Adams. “This fifth emergency humanitarian and relief center will house approximately 1,000 asylum seekers, access assistance and get them to their final destinations.”

Add to this the escalating border crises that have gripped the US in recent years and are spiraling out of control.

the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal will also only be available as a shelter for a limited time, as MSC Cruises is expected to use the building in spring 2023.

Economic Impact of MSC Cruises in New York City

the MSC Meraviglia will depart from the terminal year-round and offer a variety of itineraries to destinations such as the Bahamas, Bermuda, Florida, Canada and New England. The ship will also offer longer winter cruises to the Caribbean, including stops at MSC’s private island, Ocean Cay, a marine reserve in the Bahamas.

Mayor Eric Adams has highlighted the positive impact that MSC Cruises’ presence in New York City will have on the local economy. While MSC Meraviglia will use the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal as its home base later this year, the cruise line will do the same celebrated the christening of its newest cruise ship, MSC Seascapein NYC.

Princess Cruise Ship at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal
Photo Credit: Leonard Zhukovsky/Shutterstock

Adams estimates that the company’s presence will result in $102 million in annual spending at the city’s restaurants, shops and bars, and forecasts that year-round cruises from the Brooklyn terminal will create up to 10,000 full-time jobs in the city will.

This makes prolonged use of the cruise terminal extremely unlikely and increases the likelihood that asylum seekers will need to be relocated very soon.

“We anticipate 219,000 passengers arriving in New York City on MSC Cruises each year. This is a real boost to our economy, a boost to tourism and a boost to our contribution to our local communities.” Mayor Adams said a few weeks ago.

“We want to thank this amazing organization for recognizing the importance of not just cruising, but giving back in a very real way. Year-round cruises from the Brooklyn terminal will provide a tremendous boost to our tourism and create up to 10,000 full-time jobs in the city.”

In addition to the 171,598 gross tons MSC Meravigliawhich was the sixth-largest cruise ship in the world when it was launched in 2016, several other major cruise lines have announced plans to set sail from the New York area this year.

These include cruise ships such as Carnival Venezia, Anthem of the Seas, Norwegian Getawayand Norwegian jewelalthough these will all operate out of the Manhattan Cruise Terminal.