- By Dearbil Jordan
- BBC News
A luxury cruise ship that has been stuck in the mud in Greenland since Monday has finally been towed out.
The Ocean Explorer and its 206 passengers and crew were rescued Thursday by a Greenland research ship after it grounded inside Northeast Greenland National Park.
The boat’s owner, San Stone, said that there were no casualties among anyone on board.
However, tour operator Aurora Expeditions said a small number of people had been infected with Covid-19.
The Ocean Explorer ship got stuck in mud and silt above the Arctic Circle in the Alpfjord, 1,400 kilometers northeast of Nuuk, the capital of Greenland. Several attempts were made to free the ship during high tide but failed.
The Danish military’s Joint Arctic Command said an inspection ship was scheduled to arrive at the scene on Friday.
The ship was eventually displaced “on tow” by a Greenlandic government-owned fishing vessel called Tarajoq, which means “salt” in Greenlandic, as well as Ocean Explorer’s own power.
“The ship and its passengers will now be placed in a port where the damage to the bottom of the ship can be assessed and the passengers will be transferred to a port from which they can be repatriated,” SunStone said.
She added that there was no environmental pollution and no breach of the ship’s hull occurred.
The 112 passengers and 94 crew members on board the Australian tour operator’s cruise set off from Norway on September 2 and were scheduled to return on September 22.
Many of the passengers were from Australia, as well as from New Zealand, the United Kingdom, South Korea and the United States. Stephen Fraser and Gina Hill, a retired couple aboard the Ocean Explorer, said passengers were in high spirits despite being stranded.
Mr Fraser, who contracted coronavirus during the flight, He told the Sydney Morning Herald: “It’s a bit frustrating, but we’re in a beautiful part of the world. We’re sitting near the glacier when we open our window.”
Aurora Expeditions said earlier this week that three people had contracted the virus but remained in isolation.
Northeast Greenland National Park is roughly the same size as France and Spain combined and is famous for its fjords, glaciers and mountains.
It is also home to wildlife such as polar bears, musk ox and the elusive narwhal.
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