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Third attempt fails to free luxury cruise ship stranded in Greenland – NBC Chicago

Another attempt to free a Bahamas-flagged luxury cruise ship carrying 206 people that ran aground in the world’s northernmost national park in Greenland failed after trying to use high tide, reports said. authorities.

This was the third attempt to free the MV Ocean Explorer. Earlier this week, the cruise ship twice attempted to free itself during high tide.

The cruise ship ran aground Monday above the Arctic Circle in the Alpefjord in northeast Greenland’s national park. The park covers almost as much land as France and Spain combined, and around 80% is permanently covered by an ice cap. Alpefjord is approximately 240 kilometers (149 miles) from the nearest settlement, Ittoqqortoormiit, which itself is almost 1,400 kilometers (870 miles) from the country’s capital, Nuuk.

The Greenland Nature Institute’s fisheries research vessel Tarajoq attempted to free the Ocean Explorer at high tide Wednesday morning.

“Unfortunately, the attempt was unsuccessful,” said the Danish Joint Arctic Command, which was coordinating the operation to free the cruise ship.

In a statement, Arctic Command’s “first priority” was to get its largest inspection ship, the Knud Rasmussen, to reach the site, saying the ship was expected Friday evening because it needed to “slow down a little” en route due to weather conditions. .

The cruise ship is operated by Australia-based Aurora Expeditions and carries passengers from Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States. It has an inverted bow, shaped like that of a submarine. It has 77 cabins, 151 passenger beds and 99 crew beds, as well as several restaurants.

The Australian newspaper Sydney Morning Herald cited a retired Australian couple, Steven Fraser and Gina Hill.

On board, there are “a lot of rich old people” and “everyone is in a good mood.” It’s a bit frustrating, but we’re in a beautiful part of the world,” Fraser was quoted as saying by the daily.

“We have a few cases of COVID, but there is a doctor on board,” he told the daily, adding that he himself contracted COVID-19 on board the ship.

Arctic Command said earlier that there were other ships near the stranded cruise liner. The same goes for members of the Sirius Dog Sled Patrol, a Danish naval unit that carries out long-range reconnaissance and reinforces Danish sovereignty in the Arctic wilderness. The latter visited the ship on Tuesday and reported that everyone on board was well and that no damage to the ship had been reported.

Greenlandic newspaper Sermitsiaq said Greenland police were investigating why the ship ran aground and whether any laws were broken. So far, no one has been charged or arrested. According to the daily, citing a police statement, an officer was on board the cruise ship to carry out “the first stages of the investigation, which involve, among other things, questioning the crew and other people involved on board “.

The main mission of the Joint Arctic Command is to ensure Danish sovereignty by policing the area around the Faroe Islands and Greenland, including the Arctic Ocean to the north. Greenland is a semi-independent territory, part of the Danish Kingdom, like the Faroe Islands.

NBC Chicago

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