Ocean Explorer expedition ship runs aground in Greenland

An expedition ship ran aground in northeastern Greenland on Monday, with authorities saying that there were no reports of injuries or environmental damage. 

In a statement posted to its Facebook page Tuesday, the Joint Arctic Command Denmark, which assists with search and rescue operations in Greenland, identified the vessel as the Ocean Explorer, and said the cruise ship was grounded in the Alpefjord, which is located in the Northeast Greenland National Park.

The post, which was translated to English, said 206 passengers and crew were onboard. 

The Ocean Explorer had previously been used by Vantage Deluxe Travel, which ceased operations earlier this year. But the ship is currently being chartered by Australian cruise operator Aurora Expeditions while Aurora’s ship, the Greg Mortimer, undergoes repairs, according to a representative for Aurora. Both the Explorer and the Greg Mortimer are owned by SunStone Ships and are sister ships, part of its Infinity class.

According to a Reuters report, a spokesperson for Aurora Expeditions said passengers onboard were safe and well. 

Arctic Command’s closest unit is the inspection vessel Knud Rasmussen, which at the time of the report was approximately 1,200 nautical miles from Ocean Explorer, and the command’s statement indicated the vessel wouldn’t arrive until Friday morning. 

“As soon as we realized that the Ocean Explorer couldn’t get free on its own, we sent a ship … as soon as possible, we will also make a flyover so we can get fresh images to help assess the situation on site,” commander Brian Jensen said in the statement. “We have reached out to relevant partners in the operation area to investigate whether other units can have a shorter and faster route to the grounded ship.”

Arctic Command said it had been in contact with another cruise ship located near the Ocean Explorer and asked it to remain in the area to assist “should the situation evolve.” It did not name the ship; according to the website CruiseMapper, the Silver Endeavour and the Sea Spirit are in the region, and a Hurtigruten vessel is midway between Svalbard and Greenland.

There are several scenarios on how the Ocean Explorer could be helped, Jensen said.

“They can either try to get out on their own help when the tide becomes high, they can get help from a nearby cruise ship, they can get assistance from Knud Rasmussen or they can get help of one of our collaborators,” he said. “No matter what, the most important thing for us is that everyone arrives safe.”

Update: This report was updated to include more information about the Ocean Explorer.

Source: Read Full Article