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Cruise ship with 206 on board runs aground in Greenland

The Ocean Explorer ran aground in Alpefjord in Northeast Greenland National Park.
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/ Source: The Associated Press

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — A Bahamas-flagged Norwegian cruise ship with 206 passengers and crew has run aground in northwestern Greenland, authorities said Tuesday, adding that no one on board was in danger and no damage has been reported.

“Our units are far away, and the weather can be very unfavorable,” said Cmdr. Brian Jensen of the Joint Arctic Command.

The closest Danish navy ship was about 1,380 miles away, he said, adding it was heading to the site and could be expected at the grounded ship as soon as Friday. Jensen said in a statement there is no immediate danger to human life or the environment, but that officials “take this incident very seriously.”

View of the Ocean Explorer, a luxury cruise ship carrying 206 people that ran aground, in Alpefjord, Greenland, September 12, 2023.
The Ocean Explorer, a luxury cruise ship carrying 206 people, ran aground in Alpefjord, Greenland, on Monday.Danish Air Force/Arctic Command via Reuters

The 343-foot-long, 60-foot-wide Ocean Explorer ran aground Monday in Alpefjord in Northeast Greenland National Park. It’s the world’s largest and most northerly national park and is known for icebergs and the musk oxen that roam the coast.

The ship belongs to Ulstein Group in Ulsteinvik, southern Norway.

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. The other cruise ship was not identified.

The grounded cruise ship might also get free on its own when the tide is high, Greenland television KNR reported. “Regardless, the most important thing for us is that everyone gets to safety,” Jensen said.

Later Tuesday the Joint Arctic Command said on its Facebook page that the ship was still stuck despite the tide.

“There are still no reports that human life or the environment is in acute danger,” Joint Arctic Command said.

The primary mission of the Joint Arctic Command is to ensure Danish sovereignty by monitoring the area around the Faeroe Islands and Greenland, two semi-independent territories that are part of the Danish realm.

CORRECTION (Sept. 12, 2023, 11:45 p.m. ET): A photo caption in a previous version of this article misstated when the cruise ship ran aground. It did so Monday, not Tuesday.