A fishing vessel in Greenland will try to free a cruise ship that ran aground with 206 people

by Gabriel Martinez
Greenland Cruise Ship Grounding

In the frigid waters of Greenland’s northernmost national park, a dramatic maritime rescue operation is underway. A luxury cruise ship, flying the flag of the Bahamas and carrying 206 souls, has found itself grounded, nestled in the remote beauty of Alpefjord within the Northeast Greenland National Park. This vast expanse encompasses 972,000 square kilometers, almost rivaling the combined landmass of France and Spain, with a staggering 80% shrouded beneath an eternal ice sheet, as relayed by the Visit Greenland tourism board.

The MV Ocean Explorer, stretching 104.4 meters in length and 18 meters in width, is now the focal point of an intricate operation to dislodge it from its icy predicament. A scientific fishing vessel, dutifully belonging to Greenland’s government, is en route to the scene, scheduled to arrive and strike when the opportune moment arrives, governed by the tide.

The cruise ship’s harrowing ordeal commenced when it ran aground above the Arctic Circle earlier this week. Alpefjord, the location of this maritime mishap, resides in the far-flung wilderness of Greenland, a staggering 240 kilometers from the closest settlement, Ittoqqortoormiit. Even that settlement is a colossal 1,400 kilometers removed from the capital, Nuuk.

Undeterred by adversity, the crew of the Ocean Explorer made two valiant attempts to free the vessel during high tide, albeit without success. Yet, amid these trials, hope and reassurance have prevailed. Aurora Expeditions, the operator of the ship based in Australia, confirms the safety and well-being of both passengers and crew, emphasizing the absence of immediate peril to themselves, the vessel, or the environment.

The stranded passengers aboard the Ocean Explorer represent a diverse cohort, hailing from Australia, New Zealand, Britain, the United States, and South Korea. Their challenging circumstances notwithstanding, the atmosphere on board remains resilient and optimistic. Authorities affirm that there are no indications of substantial damage to the vessel resulting from the grounding.

In terms of climatic conditions, a serene backdrop prevails with abundant sunshine, azure skies, and a relatively mild temperature hovering around 5 degrees Celsius (41 degrees Fahrenheit), according to the Danish Meteorological Institute.

The Ocean Explorer, a vessel of 2021 vintage, belongs to the Copenhagen SunStone Ships, a part of Denmark’s SunStone Group. With its distinctive inverted bow resembling that of a submarine, the ship boasts 77 cabins, 151 passenger beds, 99 crew berths, and several dining establishments.

As the operation to liberate the stranded cruise liner unfolds, other ships are stationed nearby, ready to lend assistance if the need arises. Notably, the Sirius Dog Sled Patrol, a Danish naval unit renowned for its long-range reconnaissance and sovereignty enforcement in the Arctic wilderness, has already visited the passengers, soothing their anxieties with clear explanations of the situation.

The Joint Arctic Command, overseeing this complex endeavor, indicates that the nearest Danish navy vessel is approximately 1,200 nautical miles away. It is swiftly navigating towards the site and is anticipated to reach the grounded ship by Friday.

In the grand scheme of things, the Joint Arctic Command’s primary mission revolves around safeguarding Danish sovereignty, encompassing the Faeroe Islands, Greenland, and the Arctic Ocean in the north.

In a correction, it should be noted that the cruise ship is owned by a Danish group, rather than Norwegian, as previously mentioned.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Greenland Cruise Ship Grounding

Q: What caused the luxury cruise ship to become stranded in Greenland?

A: The cruise ship ran aground above the Arctic Circle in Alpefjord, Greenland, due to reasons yet to be fully disclosed.

Q: How many people were on board the stranded cruise ship?

A: The Bahamas-flagged luxury cruise ship was carrying 206 passengers and crew members at the time of the grounding.

Q: Is there any immediate danger to the passengers, crew, or the environment?

A: According to Aurora Expeditions, the operator of the ship, there is no immediate danger to the passengers, crew, the vessel, or the surrounding environment. Safety remains a top priority.

Q: What are the conditions like in the region where the ship is stranded?

A: The region is currently experiencing favorable weather conditions, with clear skies, sunshine, and a temperature of around 5 degrees Celsius (41 degrees Fahrenheit), as reported by the Danish Meteorological Institute.

Q: How is the rescue operation being conducted?

A: A scientific fishing vessel owned by Greenland’s government is en route to the scene. It will attempt to free the stranded cruise ship during a high tide when conditions are optimal.

Q: Are there other ships nearby to assist with the rescue operation?

A: Yes, there are other ships in the vicinity prepared to offer assistance if needed. Additionally, the Sirius Dog Sled Patrol, a Danish naval unit, has visited the passengers to provide information and reassurance.

Q: What is the ownership and background of the stranded cruise ship?

A: The MV Ocean Explorer is owned by Copenhagen SunStone Ships, part of Denmark’s SunStone Group. It is a luxury cruise ship with unique features, including an inverted bow design.

Q: How remote is the location where the cruise ship is stranded?

A: The cruise ship is grounded in a remote corner of Greenland, approximately 240 kilometers (149 miles) from the nearest settlement, Ittoqqortoormiit, which itself is nearly 1,400 kilometers (870 miles) from Greenland’s capital, Nuuk.

More about Greenland Cruise Ship Grounding

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ShipGeek September 14, 2023 - 2:18 pm

Inverted bow on the Ocean Explorer sounds cool, hope they get it unstuck soon!

CruiseLover77 September 14, 2023 - 3:40 pm

cruise ship gettin’ stuck in Greenland? wow, what a story! hope evry1’s ok!

ArcticAdventurer September 14, 2023 - 5:37 pm

Greenland’s a wild place, no wonder they ran aground.

RescueHero42 September 15, 2023 - 12:09 am

Props to the fishing vessel and Sirius Dog Sled Patrol for helpin’ out!

WeatherWatcher23 September 15, 2023 - 4:44 am

good thing they got nice weather up there, could’ve been worse.

InfoJunkie September 15, 2023 - 5:56 am

Always check the tides when you’re sailin’ in icy waters!


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