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Cruise Ship Freed After Running Aground in Greenland Monday



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A luxury cruise ship that ran aground “far from the beaten track” in Greenland on Monday has been freed, Danish defense officials announced Thursday.
The cruise ship Ocean Explorer had 206 passengers and crew on board when it ran aground Monday afternoon in Alpefjord, which is within the Northeast Greenland National Park, about 370 miles north of the Arctic Circle, according to a statement from the Joint Arctic Command of the Danish Armed Forces.
The ship tried multiple times at high tides to free itself from the sand and mud where it is stuck, but was unsuccessful. The Joint Arctic Command, together with the Sirius Sled Patrol, ensured all passengers and crew were “doing well” while they were stuck.
The Joint Arctic Command said it dispatched an air group to fly over the cruise ship with a Challenger surveillance plane on Tuesday. Aerial photos were captured to help rescuers assess the ship’s situation, officials said.
The Danish Navy vessel Knud Rasmussen was dispatched to assist, but it was 1,200 nautical miles away when it was diverted, and was unlikely to arrive before Friday evening.
The military said it asked another cruise ship in the vicinity of the Ocean Explorer to remain in the area to assist if necessary.
On Wednesday, Tarajoq, a fishing research ship operated by the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, attempted to pull the 343-foot Ocean Explorer free, but was unsuccessful. Tarajoq tried again and succeeded Thursday morning.
There were “no indications” that Ocean Explorer had suffered any serious hull damage, according to the Joint Arctic Command, and there was no immediate danger to human life or the surrounding environment, officials said.
Now that it is free, the Ocean Explorer will sail to port for inspection, officials said.
“We’re really happy that it went so well and that the passengers and crew of the ship can now see an end to the difficult situation they’ve been in for the last few days,” Commander Captain Brian Jensen of the Arctic Command said in a statement. “Regardless that no one was in direct danger, I understand if being stuck in such a deserted area with no possibility to move forward has been uncomfortable.”
TMX contributed to this article.