A Luxury Cruise Ship, Stuck Off Greenland’s Coast for 3 Days, Is Pulled Free

A luxury cruise ship that had been stuck for three days after running aground off the coast of Greenland was pulled free on Thursday morning, the authorities said.

The ship, the Ocean Explorer, had been carrying 206 passengers and crew members and was headed toward Alpefjord, in a remote corner of Greenland. The ship’s destination was the Northeast Greenland National Park, the world’s northernmost national park, which is home to icebergs, glaciers and high mountains.

The Joint Arctic Command, which is part of Denmark’s defense forces, and SunStone Maritime Group, the coordinators of the rescue operation, said in statements on Thursday that the ship had been pulled free by a vessel named Tarajoq.

There were no reported injuries on board the ship, and there was no threat to the environment. The ship’s operator, Aurora Expeditions, a cruise company based in Australia, said in a statement on Thursday that “all onboard are safe” and that it appreciated “the patience and understanding of our passengers during this process.”

“We are waiting on the relevant authorities for advice regarding our next steps,” the company said.

The rescue came after an unsuccessful attempt on Wednesday, in which a fishing research vessel owned by the government of Greenland tried and failed to pull free the Ocean Explorer at high tide. Bad weather also slowed the government’s rescue operations, officials said.

Before the ship was freed, the Joint Arctic Command had said that “the crew and passengers are in a difficult situation, but after the circumstances, the atmosphere on the ship is good and everyone on board is fine.”

It was unclear what caused the ship to run aground near Greenland, which is part of Denmark but has autonomy over most domestic affairs. Officials said there were no indications that the ship had suffered serious damage to its foundation.

Cruises around Greenland have become increasingly popular with tourists seeking adventure and comfort aboard ships packed with amenities.The Ocean Explorer, built in 2021, was made to “travel to the world’s most remote destinations,” according to Aurora Expeditions’ website.

Prices for a 17-day expedition that tours Greenland start at more than $15,000 per person. The ship has a gym, a Jacuzzi and spacious suites that are 640 square feet, offering guests two large master bathrooms, one master bedroom and expansive views of the sea.

Photos of the stuck Ocean Explorer on Wednesday showed a blue-and-white ship floating in waters with frosted mountain peaks in the distance.

Extreme cold did not appear to be a major issue for stranded passengers on Wednesday: The temperature in the area was around 2.2 degrees Celsius, or about 36 degrees Fahrenheit, that night.

Jenny Gross contributed reporting.

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