Ocean Explorer Cruise ship carrying 90 Australians among 206 people runs aground in Greenland

A luxury cruise ship carrying 206 passengers and crew — including 90 Australians — has run aground in remote eastern Greenland with the nearest help days away via sea, the Danish military’s Joint Arctic Command says.

The Australian cruise ship, Ocean Explorer, ran aground on Monday in Alpefjord in a national park 1400km northeast of Greenland’s capital Nuuk, JAC said.

There were no reports of injuries.

“A cruise ship in trouble in the national park is obviously a worry,” JAC head of operations Commander Brian Jensen 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.”

Australian cruise operator Aurora Expeditions confirmed 90 Australians are on board and said everyone was safe and well.

“Importantly, there is no immediate danger to themselves, the vessel, or the surrounding environment,” it said.

The Ocean Explorer luxury cruise ship has run aground in remote eastern Greenland.
The Ocean Explorer luxury cruise ship has run aground in remote eastern Greenland. Credit: Danish Air Force Joint Arctic Command

JAC said its nearest unit was an inspection vessel 1200 nautical miles away at the time, meaning it could reach the grounded ship by Friday morning local time at the earliest.

It has also asked a cruise ship located nearer to the Ocean Explorer to stay in the area to assist in case the situation changes.

Completed in 2021, the Ocean Explorer can accommodate up to 134 passengers and offers trips to “some of the most wild and remote destinations on the planet”, Aurora Expeditions said on its website.

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.

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