A luxury cruise ship carrying over 200 passengers and crew members has become stranded in a remote part of Greenland after running aground, as reported by The Independent. The cruise ship operator has assured that all passengers are safe, but a rescue ship won’t be able to reach them until Friday. This three-week cruise, which began on September 1st, was originally scheduled to return to port on September 22nd. Passengers paid as much as $33,000 for this trip, according to the New York Post.
According to Forbes, the expedition cruise ship, known as the Ocean Explorer, became stuck on Monday around noon, more than 850 miles away from Nuuk, the capital of Greenland.
Denmark’s Joint Arctic Command (JAC) stated, “On Monday afternoon West Greenlandic time, the Arctic Command received a message that the cruise ship Ocean Explorer was grounded in the Alpefjord in Northeast Greenland and that the ship is not immediately able to be freed by its own help.”
The Joint Arctic Command also revealed that despite Tuesday’s tides, the ship has been unable to free itself.
Aurora Expeditions, the ship’s operator, reassured that there was no immediate danger to anyone on board or to the surrounding environment, and there were sufficient supplies on the ship.
Brian Jensen of the Danish military’s Joint Arctic Command stated, “The nearest help is far away, our units are far away, and the weather can be very unfavorable. However, in this specific situation, we do not see any immediate danger to human life or the environment. Of course, we are following the situation closely and take this incident very seriously.”
However, a more concerning aspect is the presence of several COVID cases on board among the predominantly elderly passengers, most of whom are Australian, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
“Everyone’s in good spirits. It’s a little bit frustrating, but we are in a beautiful part of the world. We’re sitting right near the glacier when we open our window,” said Steven Fraser, a retired Australian traveling with his wife. “We do have a couple of cases of Covid, but there’s a doctor on board… a lot of people on board are quite elderly,” Mr. Fraser added.
An inspection vessel, the Knud Rasmussen, is on its way to the grounded cruise ship and is expected to arrive on Friday morning, according to authorities. The Joint Arctic Command has also requested a nearby cruise ship to stay in the area to provide assistance in case the situation changes, as reported by Insider.
The Ocean Explorer was constructed in 2021, is an Infinity-class vessel capable of accommodating approx 134 passengers. According to Aurora Expeditions’ website, the ship was “purpose-built for expedition travel to the world’s most wild and remote destinations.”
Its next voyage, a 12-day trip set to depart from Argentina on October 30th and explore Antarctica, costs $13,395 per passenger, as per the Post.