Luxury cruise ship runs aground with 206 passengers on board as rescue efforts underway

Norman Ray
Norman Ray

Global Courant

LONDON — A luxury cruise ship carrying 206 passengers has run aground off the coast of Greenland.

The Ocean Explorer, a 343-foot long and 60-foot wide ship, ran aground on Monday near Alpefjord in the Northeast Greenland National Park — a 375,000-square-mile area that is the most northerly national park in the world.

There have been no reports of damage to the ship.

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“Arctic Command has been in contact with the cruise ship Ocean Explorer, which has stated that they are still grounded in the National Park,” the Joint Arctic Command said in a statement posted on social media. “This means that the tide, which came during the day local time, did not provide the desired help to sail on. Arctic Command is still in contact with relevant ships in the vicinity, which could be able to help the cruise ship free.”

An aerial photo shows the Ocean Explorer, a Bahamas-flagged Norwegian cruise ship with 206 passengers and crew, which has run aground in northwestern Greenland, on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2023.


Later in the day, Tarajoq, a Greenland Institute of Natural Resources fishing research ship, arrived at the site and attempted to pull the boat out. The attempt was unsuccessful.

Now the Knud Rasmussen, a Danish Navy ship, was headed to The Ocean Explorer for assistance.

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“The crew in Knud Rasmussen is doing their best to get there as soon as possible. Due to the weather in the area where Knud Rasmussen is, the ship has had to slow down a bit,” Joint Arctic Command said in a statement Wednesday.

The cruise ship — belonging to Ulstein Group in Ulsteinvik, southern Norway — had its maiden voyage only two years ago in 2021, according to AE Expeditions. It features gym, jacuzzi, off-boat excursions and offers state of the art amenities and “maximum passenger comfort,” according to their website.

View of the Ocean Explorer, a luxury cruise ship carrying 206 people that ran aground, in Alpefjord, Greenland, Sept. 12, 2023.

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Danish Air Force/arctic Command/via Reuters

“Accommodating just 134 expeditioners, the Ocean Explorer was purpose-built for expedition travel to the world’s most remote destinations. This small ship is outfitted with the latest cutting-edge technology, sustainability and navigation capabilities,” AE Expeditions says on its website detailing the vessel.

Meanwhile, authorities have been in contact with another cruise ship in the area and it had been asked to remain nearby to assist should the situation develop, according to AP, and rescue efforts are currently underway on multiple fronts.

“The most important thing for us is that everyone gets to safety,” Jensen told the AP.

The National Park is so remote that only a limited number of people get the chance to visit each year, according to Greenland’s tourist board, and more people summit Mount Everest every year than there are visitors in The Northeast Greenland National Park.

Luxury cruise ship runs aground with 206 passengers on board as rescue efforts underway

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