Ninety Australians still stuck in remote Greenland after cruise ship rescue attempt fails

Key Points
  • The luxury vessel ran aground in remote eastern Greenland.
  • There have been no reports of injuries and everyone on board is “safe and well”.
  • A fish trawler’s attempt to free the luxury cruise ship has failed.
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, including 90 Australians, still stranded, Denmark’s armed forces say.

The Ocean Explorer has since Monday been stuck in mud and silt in the Alpefjord national park, 1400km northeast of Greenland’s capital Nuuk, the JAC said.

Fishing vessel’s failed attempt to free the cruise ship

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

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.

What happens next?

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.

Captain Flemming Madsen of the JAC told the Associated Press that the passengers and crew on the ship were doing fine and “all I can say is that they got a lifetime experience”.

Madsen said the passengers on the Ocean Explorer were “a mix” of tourists from Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States and South Korea.
The Ocean Explorer has 77 cabins, 151 passenger beds and 99 beds for crew, and several restaurants, according to the Sunstone Group website.
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.

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