The luxury cruise liner, Ocean Explorer, was finally extricated from the mudflats of Greenland on Thursday, following numerous unsuccessful attempts earlier in the week. This ocean-going vessel, boasting over two hundred passengers and crew members, had been firmly lodged within the confines of the Northeast Greenland National Park since Monday.
SunStone, the ship’s proprietors, reported an absence of injuries among those aboard. However, Aurora Expeditions, the tour operator, noted a handful of individuals had unfortunately contracted Covid-19.
The Ocean Explorer ran aground in mud and silt above the Arctic Circle in Alpefjord, located a significant 870 miles northeast of Nuuk, Greenland’s capital. Despite repeated efforts to liberate the ship during periods of high tide, success repeatedly proved elusive.
The Joint Arctic Command of the Danish military stated that an inspection vessel had been scheduled to reach the scene by Friday. Nevertheless, it was the robust undertaking of a Greenland government-owned trawler, Tarajoq, translating as salt in Greenlandic, that finally managed to dislodge the stranded ship. This successful extraction was executed in conjunction with the ship’s own capacities.
In the aftermath of this maritime setback, SunStone disclosed plans to position the vessel and its passengers into a port. Here, the damage to the ship’s underside could be thoroughly evaluated and passengers could subsequently secure transportation homewards.
Although the ordeal was taxing, SunStone reassured the public there had been no environmental pollution or breach of the hull. The ship’s voyage, operated by the Australian firm Aurora Expeditions, had originally embarked from Norway on the 2nd of September with an anticipated return date of September 22nd.
Among the 112 passengers and 94 crew members aboard the Ocean Explorer, many hailed from Australia, New Zealand, the UK, South Korea, and the US. According to one couple aboard, Mr. Steven Fraser and Gina Hill, spirits remained lifted despite the challenging circumstances. Fraser, who himself contracted Covid-19 during the expedition, proclaimed the beauty of their surroundings, particularly their proximal positioning to a glacier.
Aurora Expeditions confirmed earlier that three individuals had been diagnosed with the virus but were being diligently isolated. The Northeast Greenland National Park, nearly the combined size of France and Spain, is renowned for its majestic fjords, icebergs, and mountains. It serves as the habitat for a diverse array of wildlife, including polar bears, muskoxen, and the rare narwhal.