A cruise ship carrying 206 passengers and a crew is stranded in Greenland despite repeated efforts to free it. However, it is said that the morale on board the ship remains high despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ocean Explorer got stuck in a dramatic and remote area known as Alpefjord on the eastern coast of Greenland on Monday. A Danish naval vessel is en route to provide assistance, but officials say it may not arrive until late Friday due to adverse weather conditions.
Three passengers on board the ship have tested positive for COVID-19 and have been isolated, according to the tour agency Aurora Expeditions, which operates the vessel. All other passengers on the plane are reported to be healthy and safe.
In a statement from Aurora Expeditions, it is said, “The important thing is that they are at no immediate risk to the ship or the surrounding environment.”
A passenger, whose name is only listed as Lis, told CNN’s Nine News that she believed the COVID situation was “under control.” She jokingly added that her main concern at this time is running out of alcohol.
She said, “That’s my biggest worry.”
“I learned to swim before coming, and I’m a good swimmer. So be careful: I might swim back to Iceland.”
According to a statement from the Joint Arctic Command (JAC) of Denmark, the Ocean Explorer has made several unsuccessful attempts to free itself from ice flows in recent days.
During a high tide on Wednesday, a research vessel, Tara Joq, which is owned by the Greenlandic government, attempted to move the cruise ship but was unsuccessful, JAC confirmed to CNN.
According to JAC, a large Danish naval vessel, HDMS Nud Rasmussen, has been dispatched to provide assistance, but it faces a journey of 1,200 nautical miles (approximately 2,222 kilometers) to reach the cruise ship.
Arctic Commander Brian Jensen said, “As soon as we realized that the Ocean Explorer could not free itself, we sent a ship towards Malbay.”
“We are actively engaged in efforts to free MV Ocean Explorer from its grounding. Our top priority is to ensure the recovery of the ship without compromising safety,” Aurora Expeditions said.
According to the Danish Armed Forces on Wednesday, Danish military personnel boarded the cruise ship on Tuesday and reported that all 206 people on board are “doing well.”
According to the official website of Aurora Expeditions, the ship was designed for “expedition journeys to the world’s most remote destinations.”