“Ocean Explorer,” an Expedition Cruise Ship, Runs Aground in Greenland

The MS Ocean Explorer aground in the Northeast Greenland National Park in Greenland, September 12, 2023. Photo credit: Air Force/Arctic Command
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A modern expedition cruise ship carrying 206 people ran aground in Greenland’s Alpefjord, according to Denmark’s Joint Arctic Command. The ship, named Ocean Explorer, is currently stable and poses no immediate threat to the environment or the safety of those on board. However, it is unable to free itself, and there are no supplies in the area to assist. The Joint Arctic Command is closely monitoring the situation and taking it seriously, although they do not see any acute danger at present. The nearest Arctic Command ship is 1,200 nautical miles away and is expected to arrive on Friday, weather permitting. Another cruise ship and the Icelandic Coast Guard may also provide assistance if needed.

The Joint Arctic Command is exploring various options to free the stranded ship, including trying to refloat it during high tide. The Ocean Explorer, an “Infinity Class” expedition cruise ship, is 104.4 meters long and can accommodate 165 passengers and up to 300 crew members. It features the patented “X-Bow” design from Ulstein, making it the first cruise ship to have this feature. The ship is currently operated by a subsidiary of Aurora Expeditions, which acquired the business from its previous operator last month due to bankruptcy proceedings.

While the situation is cause for concern, there is no immediate danger to those on board or the environment. Efforts are underway to assess the situation and provide assistance, with the nearest ship expected to arrive in a few days. The safety of all individuals involved remains the top priority for the Joint Arctic Command.

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