A new refloat attempt of the Ocean Explorer has proven successful. This morning (local time), the expedition cruise ship that grounded off Greenland was pulled free by the Institute of Natural Resources’ research vessel Tarajoq.
On Monday afternoon, 11 September, West Greenlandic time, Arctic Command received a message that the cruise ship Ocean Explorer had run aground in Alpefjord in Northeast Greenland and that the ship was not immediately able to free itself.
There are 206 passengers and crew members on board the Ocean Explorer. There have not been any injuries as a result of the grounding. It has also been announced that there has so far been no damage that could pose a risk to the environment, according to Head of Operations at Joint Arctic Command, Commander Brian Jensen.
It was initially hoped the vessel would be able to free itself during high tide, but this did not happen. Joint Arctic Command send its vessel Knud Rasmussen to the ship, but since this vessel was some 1200 nautical miles away, it was not expected to arrive until Friday evening.
Second refloat with Tarajoq successful
In the meantime, Greenland’s Institute of Natural Resources sent its research vessel Tarajoq to assist. A towing line was fastened, but an initial refloat attempt failed. The second one, however, succeeded, reports Joint Arctic Command. According to vessel owner SunStone Ships, there have not been any injuries to any person on board, no pollution of the environment and no breach of the hull.
The vessel and its passengers will now be positioned to a port where the vessel’s bottom damages can be assessed, and the passengers will be taken to a port from which they can be flown back home, states SunStone Ships.
In addition, the company thanks ‘other expedition cruise vessels in the vicinity, from Quark Expedition, Silver Sea and Hurtigruten, who all reached out and offered their assistance, which however, was not needed’. SunStone had also arranged additional tug assistance in case it was needed, but this has now been cancelled.
The Ocean Explorer and its passengers will now be positioned to a port where the vessel’s bottom damages can be assessed, and the passengers will be taken to a port from which they can be flown back home.
The Ocean Explorer was built in 2021 and is part of the Infinity Class vessels designed by Ulstein. The vessel is 104.4 metres long and 18.4 metres wide and features an Ulstein X-Bow. The vessel is owned by SunStone Ships but chartered by Aurora Expeditions.
Picture by SunStone Ships.