The luxury cruise ship MV Ocean Explorer has been successfully pulled free after running aground in Greenland with 206 people on board. The ship was freed by a fisheries research vessel at high tide, with no injuries reported and no damage to the environment. The cruise ship and its passengers will now travel to a port where the damage to the vessel’s bottom can be assessed, and the passengers will be flown home. The cruise ship ran aground in Alpefjord in Northeast Greenland National Park, which is nearly the size of France and Spain combined and is covered by an ice sheet. The ship has passengers from Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The ship’s owner, SunStone Ships, stated that several other vessels had offered assistance but it was not needed. The Danish Maritime Authority has requested an investigation into why the ship ran aground and whether any laws were violated. The cruise liner began its trip on September 2 and was due to return on September 22. The Joint Arctic Command, which coordinated the operation, is responsible for monitoring the area around the Faeroe Islands and Greenland to ensure Danish sovereignty.
Greenland is a semi-independent territory that is part of the Danish realm.