A luxury cruise ship that was stuck in a remote part of Greenland for three days after running aground with 206 people on board has been towed free by a fishing boat.
The Ocean Explorer cruise ship was refloated on Thursday, the Danish navy and ship owner said, after being stuck since Monday in mud and silt in the Alpefjord national park, about 1,400 kilometers northeast of the Greenland capital Nuuk.
“The Ocean Explorer was torn loose,” the Royal Danish Navy’s Joint Arctic Command in Greenland said.
The Joint Arctic Command confirmed the vessel was towed loose by the Tarajoq, a trawler and research vessel that made an unsuccessful attempt to do so on Wednesday.
The Greenland fisheries research vessel was able to help tow the vessel free, said the cruise ship’s owner, SunStone Maritime Group.
“There were no injuries to anyone on board, no environmental contamination and no hull rupture,” SunStone said.
“We have now successfully become free… We are absolutely elated,” Gina Hill, an Australian passenger on board the ship, told Reuters on Thursday.
The Bahamas-flagged cruise ship leaned to the side during the operation and passengers were not allowed out, Hill said.
According to Australian media reports, three people on board have tested positive for COVID-19.
Most tourists came from Australia, Great Britain, New Zealand, South Korea and the United States.
There are few hydrological surveys of the area where the cruise ship ran aground, making it difficult to estimate sea depth.
Danish police have opened a preliminary investigation into the grounding to determine whether there was any misconduct.
The Ocean Explorer will be taken to a port to assess any damage while the passengers are flown home, SunStone said.
“There were no injuries to anyone on board, no environmental contamination and no hull ruptures,” SunStone said in a statement.
Greenland, a semi-sovereign territory of Denmark in the North Atlantic Ocean with just 57,000 inhabitants, attracts tourists with its rugged landscape and a huge ice sheet that covers much of the island.