A luxury cruise ship has been freed after it ran aground in northwestern Greenland.
The Ocean Explorer – which has 206 passengers on board – got stuck in mud and silt on Monday in Alpefjord, a national park 870 miles (1,400km) northeast of Greenland’s capital Nuuk, the Danish military’s Joint Arctic Command (JAC) said.
After three failed attempts to free the ship, it was “successfully” pulled free by a fishing vessel, Tarajoq, at high tide.
SunStone Ships, the vessel’s owner, said the ship will be taken to a port to assess any damage, while the passengers will be flown home.
“There have not been any injuries to any person onboard, no pollution of the environment and no breach of the hull,” SunStone said in a statement.
The ship has 77 cabins and several restaurants. Pic: AP
Before the rescue, the JAC had sent its larger inspection vessel, Knud Rasmussen, to the site, which was expected to arrive on Friday evening.
‘Everyone’s in good spirits’
The Ocean Explorer, which is operated by Australia-based Aurora Expeditions, left the Norwegian port of Bronnoysund on 6 September, according to tracking data from MarineTraffic.com.
The ship has 77 cabins, 151 passenger beds and 99 beds for crew.
There are also several restaurants, an infinity pool and a two-level lounge with a piano bar and panoramic windows at the bow of the ship, according to Ulstein, the company that built it.
Satellite image of stranded ship. Pic: Copernicus EU
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Some of those on board are from Australia, UK, New Zealand, US and South Korea, and were described by passengers Steven Fraser and Gina Hill as “a lot of wealthy older people”.
Tracking data of Ocean Explorer
Earlier on Thursday, the retired couple from Australia told the Sydney Morning Herald that “everyone’s in good spirits”.
“It’s a little bit frustrating, but we are in a beautiful part of the world,” Mr Fraser was quoted as saying.
Mr Fraser said he was one of a number of passengers who had tested positive for COVID, but there is a doctor on board.
Lisa, another passenger, told CNN that her biggest fear at the moment is running out of alcohol, but if the worst did happen, she had a back-up plan.
“I had swimming lessons before I came and I’m a good swimmer,” she said.
“So look out: I could be swimming back to Iceland.”
The nearest settlement is 149 miles away. Pic: AP
Members of the Sirius Dog Sled Patrol – a Danish naval unit that conducts long-range reconnaissance and enforces Danish sovereignty in the Arctic wilderness – were in the vicinity of the stranded ship.
They visited on Tuesday and reported that everyone on board was fine and no damage to the vessel had been reported.