Hundreds of cruise passengers stranded in Arctic with ‘help 1,000 miles away’
More than 200 luxury cruise passengers are stranded in the Arctic after their ship ran aground with help "far away".
Aurora Expeditions' 104-metre-long Ocean Explorer became stuck on Monday (September 11) and there are no chances of rescue until Friday (September 15). And that's at the earliest.
The vessel, which was grounded in a remote area of Greenland, cannot be "freed" on its own, and there are no immediate signs of a rescue operation coming to save them.
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Arctic Command and Denmark's Joint Arctic Command officials confirmed receipt of a distress signal from the stranded boat, which has 206 passengers onboard, with operations head Brian Jensen labelling the situation "worrisome".
A joint statement read: "On Monday afternoon West Greenlandic time, the Arctic Command received a message that the cruise ship Ocean Explorer was grounded in the Alpefjord in Northeast Greenland, and that the ship is not immediately able to be freed by its own help."
Further comments from JAC head Mr Jensen saw the situation conditions labelled as "unfavourable" for passengers, the Independent reported.
He said: "The nearest help is far away. Our units are far away, and the weather can be very unfavourable.
"However, in this specific situation, we do not see any immediate danger to human life or the environment, which is reassuring. Of course, we are following the situation closely and take this incident very seriously."
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Vessels are now being scrambled to perform a rescue operation, though the closest one able to perform it – an inspection vessel named Knud Rasmussen – is around 1,200 nautical miles away.
JAC representatives say the earliest it can get to the stranded ship would be Friday morning, as long as there are no snags for the potential rescue operations.
A spokesperson for Aurora Expeditions confirmed all passengers are safe and well, adding: "We are actively engaged in efforts to free the MV Ocean Explorer from its grounding."
Mr Jensen is now weighing up rescue plans, saying: "Arctic Command has been in contact with the cruise ship Ocean Explorer, which has stated that they are still grounded in the National Park.
"This means that the tide, which came during the day local time, did not provide the desired help to sail on."
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