Concern Grows as Third Attempt to Rescue MV Ocean Explorer Fails in Greenland; Three COVID-19 Cases Confirmed

The MV Ocean Explorer, a luxurious cruise vessel that became stranded in Greenland with 206 passengers on board on September 11, has recently confirmed that at least three passengers have tested positive for COVID-19. This announcement follows a third unsuccessful attempt to dislodge the immobilized cruise liner. A fisheries research vessel had made a high-tide rescue effort on September 13, but to no avail.

Greenland Cruise ship

Aurora Expeditions, headquartered in Australia, provided reassurance in response to this development. According to AP News, they stated: "These infected passengers are currently in quarantine and are receiving attentive care from our onboard medical team and crew. Thankfully, their condition is stable." Meanwhile, the remaining passengers aboard the MV Ocean Explorer are reportedly in good health and unharmed.

Steven Fraser, one of the passengers aboard the ship, shared with The Sydney Morning Herald that despite the frustrating circumstances, everyone on board is maintaining a positive outlook. Fraser himself contracted COVID-19 while on the ship. The cruise ship ran aground in Alpefjord, situated above the Arctic Circle within the Northeast Greenland National Park, the northernmost national park globally. This expansive park, nearly the size of France and Spain combined, features approximately 80 percent of its area permanently covered by an ice sheet. Alpefjord is positioned roughly 240 kilometers from the nearest settlement, itself located nearly 1,400 kilometers from the capital, Nuuk.

The Danish Joint Arctic Command, responsible for overseeing the rescue operation, expressed disappointment that their efforts to free the ship had not been successful. The MV Ocean Explorer, bearing the flag of the Bahamas, caters to passengers from Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, the UK, and the US. It boasts a distinctive inverted bow design resembling that of a submarine, offering 77 cabins, 151 passenger berths, 99 crew berths, and several restaurants.

In Greenland, authorities are actively investigating the circumstances surrounding the ship's grounding and whether any laws were breached in the process.