Cruise ship with over 200 on board runs aground in northeast Greenland

Photo: Danish Joint Arctic Command
Photo: Danish Joint Arctic Command

Danish defence officials have confirmed that an expedition cruise ship with 206 people on board ran aground in a national park in a remote portion of northeast Greenland on Monday, September 11.

The Danish Joint Arctic Command (JAC) said it received an alert on the afternoon (local time) of Monday stating that the cruise ship Ocean Explorer had run aground in Alpefjord in Northeast Greenland National Park and that it could not be refloated.

The JAC said that there were no injuries among the ship's passengers and crew and that there were no signs of damage that could pose a risk to the surrounding marine environment.

The Royal Danish Navy patrol vessel HDMS Knud Rasmussen is the closest Danish defence ship to the grounded Ocean Explorer. However, since the patrol vessel was approximately 1,200 nautical miles away from Alpefjord at the time of the initial report, officials expect it to arrive in the area to render assistance no earlier than Friday, September 15.

The JAC added that it is in contact with another cruise ship that is also in the area. This ship has been requested to remain on standby should its assistance be needed.

Ocean Explorer was still grounded as of the late evening of Tuesday, September 12.

The JAC is continuing to monitor the situation.

Ocean Explorer is owned by US-based SunStone Ships. The vessel has been operating in the Arctic under charter with Australia-based Aurora Expeditions to take over the itineraries of sister ship Greg Mortimer, which is undergoing repairs.

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