Trawler’s attempt fails to free grounded cruise ship in Greenland

View of the Ocean Explorer, a luxury cruise ship carrying 206 people that ran aground, in Alpefjord, Greenland, September 12, 2023. Danish Air Force/Arctic Command/Handout via REUTERS Acquire Licensing Rights

HELSINKI, Sept 13 (Reuters) – A fish trawler’s attempt to free a luxury cruise ship that ran aground two days ago in a remote part of Greenland has failed, leaving the vessel and the 206 people on board still stranded, Denmark’s armed forces said on Wednesday.

The Ocean Explorer has since Monday been stuck in mud and silt in the Alpefjord national park, some 1,400 km (870 miles) northeast of Greenland’s capital Nuuk, the Danish military’s Joint Arctic Command (JAC) said.

The large trawler sought to pull the cruise ship free during Wednesday’s high tide, but the attempt ultimately failed, the JAC said in a statement.

Armed forces personnel stationed in Greenland have inspected the Ocean Explorer and spoken to those on board, concluding that they were in good condition.

“The crew and passengers are in a difficult situation, but under the circumstances the atmosphere on the ship is good and everyone on board is doing well,” the JAC said.

The Danish navy’s Knud Rasmussen patrol vessel was expected to arrive at the Alpefjord site on Friday afternoon, the JAC said.

“If everything goes well, they will help the ship get out of this emergency that they’re in at this moment. But it depends on how everything looks when they arrive on Friday so we need to see how it goes,” a JAC spokesperson said.

The passengers and crew remained safe on board, Australian cruise operator Aurora Expeditions said earlier.

“There is no immediate danger to themselves, the vessel or the surrounding environment,” Sydney-based Aurora said in a statement.

Photos taken by the Danish military showed the Ocean Explorer sitting upright in calm waters with the sun shining.

Greenland, a semi-sovereign territory of Denmark in the North Atlantic Ocean with a population of just 57,000, attracts tourists with its rugged landscape and a vast ice cap that covers much of the island.

Reporting by Essi Lehto in Helsinki and Louise Rasmussen in Copenhagen, writing by Terje Solsvik; editing by Christina Fincher and Grant McCool

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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