Luxury cruise ship runs aground in remote Greenland

A luxury cruise ship carrying over 200 people has run aground in remote eastern Greenland with the nearest help by sea days away.

The Ocean Explorer, a luxury cruise ship carrying 206 people, has run aground in remote eastern Greenland with the nearest help by sea days away.

According to a statement from the Danish military’s Joint Arctic Command (JAC), the ship ran aground on Monday in Alpefjord in a national park some 1,400 km (870 miles) northeast of Greenland’s capital Nuuk.

“A cruise ship in trouble in the national park is obviously a worry. The nearest help is far away, our units are far away, and the weather can be very unfavourable,” JAC head of operations, Commander Brian Jensen, said in the statement. “However, in this specific situation, we do not see any immediate danger to human life or the environment, which is reassuring,” he added.

The JAC confirmed a statement from Australian cruise operator Aurora Expeditions that everyone on board was safe and well.

“While the Ocean Explorer is stable with no immediate threat to the environment or safety to those on board, the ship is unable to free itself.”

The JAC said its nearest unit, the Knud Rasmussen, is some 1,200 nautical miles away, meaning it could reach the grounded ship by Friday morning local time at the earliest.

The Arctic command has asked a cruise ship located nearer to the Ocean Explorer to stay in the area so it will be able to assist if needed.

About the Ocean Explorer

The Ocean Explorer was completed in 2021. The five-star luxury ship offers 77 cabins, including 15 for solo travellers and can accommodate 134 passengers. The ship’s features include multiple restaurants, lounges, a library, a gym and a full medical center. Guests can relax in the ship’s wellness, on the pool deck, in the Jacuzzis, and use kayaks and zodiacs for deeper exploration.

The luxury ship offers trips to “some of the most wild and remote destinations on the planet.” The ship is designed for rugged, remote areas and active expeditions.

Owned by SunStone Ships, the 8,000-ton Ocean Explorer had been chartered for Vantage Travel.

During the 2023 summer the Ocean Explorer was originally scheduled to sail in the Arctic and Northern Europe before repositioning to the Great Lakes for a fall program.

But when Vantage Travel ceased operations in late May, the vessel was laid up at the port of Caen, in Northern France. In July the vessel left the French port for the Svalbard Archipelago in Norway where it would take over for the Greg Mortimer, which had suffered propeller damage.

Like all 6 ships in the SunStone Infinity Class, Ocean Explorer features the ULSTEIN X-BOW, an inverted bow design that cuts through the swell so you feel fewer vibrations, make quicker transits through sea passages and helps reduce fuel consumption.

Pictures ©SunStone

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