NUUK — Morale aboard a cruise ship stuck in Greenland remains high, despite a breakout of Covid and several failed attempts to free the boat.
The Ocean Explorer, carrying 206 passengers and crew, ran aground on a remote stretch of Greenland earlier this week and could potentially be stuck for days.
Three passengers on board have Covid-19, tour agency Aurora Expeditions, the ship’s operator, announced Thursday. The infected passengers are currently in isolation, and all others are healthy and safe, according to Aurora Expeditions.
Lis, a passenger on the cruise ship, told CNN affiliate Nine News she felt the Covid situation was “contained” and that her biggest fear at the moment is running out of alcohol.
“That is the biggest concern I have,” she said.
If that happens, however, she has a backup plan.
“I had swimming lessons before I came and I’m a good swimmer,” Lis said. “So look out: I could be swimming back to Iceland.”
“This means that the tide — which came during the day, local time — did not give the desired help to sail on,” a JAC statement said.
All passengers onboard are “safe and well,” tour agency Aurora Expeditions said on Wednesday.
“Importantly, there is no immediate danger to themselves, the vessel, or the surrounding environment,” reads a statement from Aurora Expeditions.
Following the incident, the closest inspection vessel, the Knud Rasmussen, was dispatched to assist, according to the statement, but faced a journey of 1,200 nautical miles (around 2,222 kilometers) to reach the cruise ship,
The vessel is expected to reach the Ocean Explorer on Friday evening.
“As soon as we realized that the Ocean Explorer could not get free on its own, we sent a ship towards the wreck,” Arctic Commander Brian Jensen said.
“As soon as possible, we will also fly over the site to get fresh images to help us assess the situation on site,” he continued.
“We have also secured the support of other vessels in the vicinity should their assistance become necessary.”
Jensen said the Ocean Explorer could still re-float on a high tide, but failing that, the Knud Rasmussen would assist.
“We are actively engaged in efforts to free the MV Ocean Explorer, from its grounding. Our foremost commitment is to ensure the vessel’s recovery without compromising safety,” Aurora Expeditions said.
During high tide on Wednesday, fishing research vessel “Tarajoq,” which is owned by the government of Greenland, attempted to dislodge the cruise ship, but failed to do so, the JAC confirmed with CNN on Wednesday.
According to the JAC, the Government of Greenland, the Danish Maritime Authority and the Danish Accident Investigation Board have been informed of the initial incident.
Danish armed forces personnel boarded the cruise ship on Tuesday and said all 206 people aboard were “doing well,” according to a statement issued by the Danish Armed Forces on Wednesday.
The ship was “purpose-built for expedition travel to the world’s most remote destinations,” according to the official website for Aurora Expeditions. — CNN