Greenland’s Government Fishing Vessel to Assist Grounded Luxury Cruise Ship in Arctic Waters

A fishing vessel owned by the government of Greenland is set to attempt a rescue operation to free a luxury cruise ship that ran aground in the world’s northernmost national park. The Bahamas-flagged MV Ocean Explorer, carrying 206 passengers and crew members, became stranded in northwestern Greenland’s Alpefjord, which is within the Northeast Greenland National Park. This remote region is characterized by its vast ice-covered landscapes and is located approximately 240 kilometers away from the nearest settlement, Ittoqqortoormiit.

The MV Ocean Explorer, with dimensions of 104.4 meters in length and 18 meters in width, has experienced two failed attempts to dislodge itself during high tide. The cruise ship, operated by Australia-based Aurora Expeditions, confirmed the safety of its passengers and crew, emphasizing that there was no immediate danger to them, the vessel, or the environment.

The scientific fishing vessel dispatched to assist in the rescue is scheduled to arrive soon, and it will make an effort to pull the stranded cruise ship free when tidal conditions are favorable.

Despite the challenging circumstances, the passengers, hailing from countries including Australia, New Zealand, Britain, the United States, and South Korea, are reportedly in good spirits. The Joint Arctic Command, part of Denmark’s realm overseeing the region, assured that there were no signs of serious damage to the grounded ship.

Greenland’s picturesque coastline is a popular destination for cruise ships, offering tourists the chance to admire the stunning mountainous terrain, fjords, musk oxen, and icebergs of various sizes.

The MV Ocean Explorer, built in 2021, belongs to Copenhagen SunStone Ships, a subsidiary of Denmark’s SunStone Group. It features an inverted bow resembling that of a submarine and offers accommodations for both passengers and crew.

The Danish Joint Arctic Command is coordinating the operation to free the cruise ship, with support from the Sirius Dog Sled Patrol, a Danish naval unit experienced in Arctic wilderness operations. The nearest Danish navy ship is en route and expected to reach the grounded vessel by Friday.

This incident serves as a testament to the challenging conditions and remote locations that maritime operations can encounter in Greenland’s Arctic waters.

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