Luxury cruise ship stranded for days in Arctic and some passengers have Covid

Passenger on cruise saved by crew

A luxury cruise ship has been left stranded in a freezing remote area of Greenland with Covid-infected passengers on board.

Australia-based cruise operator Aurora Expeditions’ MV Ocean Explorer was carrying 206 passengers and crew when the fancy ship got stuck while touring a national park in northeast Greenland.

The closest help is a long journey away, meaning those on board are having to wait around for days.

The closest inspection vessel – Knud Rasmussen -was dispatched to assist but faced a staggering journey of 1,200 nautical miles (2,222 kilometres) to arrive at the vessel.

Making matters worse, two people on the cruise ship are infected with COVID-19, an Australian passenger told The Sydney Morning Herald.

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Steven Fraser told the outlet: “We do have a couple of cases of COVID, but there’s a doctor on board.”

Now, those aboard the Ocean Explorer will have to stay put until Friday. This is reportedly the earliest that a vessel can reach the ship for help.

Cmdr Brian Jensen of the Danish navy’s joint Arctic command said in a statement on Tuesday: “A cruise ship in trouble in the national park is obviously a worry.

“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.”

Other good news is that the 104-metre-long ship is kitted out with 10 different types of suites and staterooms.

They span between 122 to 600 square feet. It also has a gym, wellness center, spa, glass atrium and spectacular observation deck.

Aurora Expeditions’ website also states that 30-day cruises can cost passengers as much as $38,895 per person.

A lot of the passengers on board are thought to be Australian, but there are tourists from New Zealand, the UK, the US and South Korea on the ship too.

Gina Hill, another Australian passenger said they felt a shudder when the ship first became trapped.

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But she noted that passengers are not too bogged down and have been kept entertained by lectures and stories of expeditions from the crew.

She said: “No one seems to be afraid, and they’re giving us updates quite regularly.”

Aurora Expeditions’ vessel was “purpose-built for expedition travel to the world’s most remote destinations,” according to its official website .

The ship was expected to return to port on September 22. The Government of Greenland, the Danish Maritime Authority and the Danish Accident Investigation Board have been informed of that the vessel has run aground.

Aurora Expeditions said: “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.

“We have also secured the support of other vessels in the vicinity should their assistance become necessary.”

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