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A luxury cruise ship with 206 passengers and crew on board ran aground “far from the beaten track” in Greenland on Monday, making rescue difficult, according to Danish defense officials.
The cruise ship Ocean Explorer ran aground Monday afternoon in Alpefjord, which is within the Northeast Greenland National Park in the northeast of the country, about 370 miles north of the Arctic Circle, according to a statement from the Joint Arctic Command of the Danish Armed Forces.
The ship has tried multiple times at high tides to free itself from the sand and mud where it is stuck, but has been unsuccessful so far. The Joint Arctic Command, together with the Sirius Sled Patrol, has ensured all 206 passengers and crew on board are “doing well.”
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.
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.
The Joint Arctic Command also said the Danish Navy vessel Knud Rasmussen is en route to assist, but it was 1,200 nautical miles away when it was diverted, and was unlikely to arrive before Friday. Due to weather, the ship was forced to slow its pace, and according to the latest update Wednesday, wasn’t due to arrive until Friday evening.
“When the inspection vessel Knud Rasmussen arrives at the ship, the crew will assess the situation and plan the next course of action,” the Joint Arctic Command said in a statement. “One possibility among several is that Knud Rasmussen can try to pull the cruise ship free.”
The military said it asked another cruise ship in the vicinity of the Ocean Explorer to remain in the area to assist if necessary. Officials said there are also other ships in the area that may be called in to assist.
There were “no indications” that Ocean Explorer had suffered any serious hull damage, according to the Joint Arctic Command. So far, there is no immediate danger to human life or the surrounding environment, officials said.
TMX contributed to this article.