A cruise ship carrying 206 passengers and crew is stranded in Greenland after repeated attempts to free it, but morale on board is said to be high despite the Covid outbreak.
The Ocean Explorer ran aground on Monday in Albefjord, a dramatic and rugged area off Greenland’s east coast. A Danish navy ship was on its way to help but bad weather delayed its arrival until late Friday, officials said.
Three passengers on board have tested positive for Covid-19 and are in isolation, the tour company Aurora Expeditions, the ship’s operator, announced on Thursday. Everyone else on board is said to be safe and sound.
Danish Air Force/Arctic Command/Reuters
The Ocean Explorer ship ran aground in Greenland’s Albefjord with 206 passengers and crew on board.
“Importantly, there is no immediate danger to themselves, the ship or the surrounding environment,” an earlier statement from Aurora Expeditions said.
One passenger, named only as Liz, told CNN affiliate Nine News that the Covid situation made her feel “overwhelming”. She joked that her main fear at the moment was reducing alcohol.
“That’s the biggest concern I have,” he said.
“I had swimming lessons before I came and I’m a good swimmer. So watch out: I might swim again for Iceland.
According to a statement from Denmark’s Joint Arctic Command (JAC), Ocean Explorer has made several unsuccessful attempts to free itself from tidal currents over the past few days.
During high tide on Wednesday, the Greenland government-owned fisheries research vessel Tarajoq attempted to dislodge the cruise ship but was unable to do so, JAC confirmed with CNN on Wednesday.
A large Danish naval vessel, the Knud Rasmussen, was sent to assist, As stated therein JAC, but faced a journey of 1,200 nautical miles (about 2,222 kilometers) to reach the cruise ship.
“As soon as we realized that the Ocean Explorer was not going to get free on its own, we sent a ship toward the wreck,” Arctic Commander Brian Jensen said.
“We are actively engaged in efforts to free MV Ocean Explorer from its mooring. Our primary commitment is to ensure vessel recovery without compromising safety,” Aurora Expeditions said.
Danish military personnel boarded the cruise ship on Tuesday and all 206 people on board were “doing well”, the Danish armed forces said on Wednesday.
The vessel was “built for the purpose of voyages to the most remote places of the world,” according to Official website For Aurora trips.
CNN’s Tamara Hardingham-Gill contributed to this story.
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