The ship is stranded in an area known for its breathtaking icebergs and the presence of musk oxen along the coast.
A luxury cruise ship, the Ocean Explorer, carrying 206 passengers, primarily Australians, has encountered a perilous situation as it ran aground in the remote northeastern reaches of Greenland.
The incident unfolded at approximately noon on Monday, September 11, 2023, in the Alpefjord, a location situated approximately 870 miles (1,400 kilometers) northeast of Greenland’s capital, Nuuk, according to Brian Jensen of the Danish military’s Joint Arctic Command.
In response to the distress call, Bloomberg reports that the Danish naval authorities swiftly diverted an existing vessel, currently off the coast of southwest Greenland, to render assistance. However, this vessel is not expected to reach the stranded cruise ship until Friday morning, September 15, 2023.
As of now, freeing the Ocean Explorer appears to necessitate the involvement of a third-party vessel commissioned by Aurora Expeditions, the operator based in Sydney, Australia. It’s noteworthy that the majority of passengers aboard are Australians, as confirmed by Jensen.
Despite the precarious situation, Aurora Expeditions, the Sydney-based operator of the Ocean Explorer, has offered reassurance in a statement, stating, “All passengers, the expedition team, and crew onboard are safe and well. Importantly, there is no immediate danger to themselves, the vessel, or the surrounding environment.”
An aerial military reconnaissance flight over the stranded cruise ship, which measures 104.4 meters in length and 18 meters in width, has yielded promising results. The vessel’s hull appears intact, and there have been no reports of oil spills.
Fortunately, no injuries have been reported among those onboard. Additionally, it is believed that the ship, owned by the Ulstein Group in Ulsteinvik, southern Norway, is adequately supplied.
Aurora Expeditions is renowned for its specialization in polar trips, offering exclusive experiences such as a 30-day cruise that costs more than $US33,000 ($51,000) per person, as stated on its website.
Among its featured attractions are the chance to witness the awe-inspiring Ilulissat Icefjord, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and encounters with Arctic wildlife, including polar bears, beluga whales, and walruses.
The Alpefjord, where the Ocean Explorer now sits stranded, is located within the Northeast Greenland National Park, known for its breathtaking icebergs and the presence of musk oxen along the coast.