Cruise ship carrying 206 people runs aground in Greenland – and rescue will not arrive until Friday

A cruise ship with 206 passengers and crew on board has run aground in northwestern Greenland – and rescuers will not arrive until Friday at the earliest, authorities said.

The Ocean Explorer ran aground on Monday in Alpefjord in a national park 870 miles (1,400km) northeast of Greenland’s capital Nuuk, the Danish military’s Joint Arctic Command (JAC) said.

“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 unfavorable,” JAC head of operations Commander Brian Jensen said in the statement.

He said the closest Danish navy ship was around 1,200 nautical miles (more than 1,380 miles or 2,000km) away – adding it was heading to the site and would not reach the grounded ship until Friday at the earliest.

“However, in this specific situation, we do not see any immediate danger to human life or the environment, which is reassuring,” he added.

Authorities have been in contact with another cruise ship in the area and it has been asked to remain nearby to assist in case the situation changes.

The grounded cruise ship might also get free on its own when the tide is high, Greenland television KNR reported.

But later on Tuesday, the JAC said on its Facebook page the ship was still stuck despite the tide.

“Regardless, the most important thing for us is that everyone gets to safety,” Mr Jensen said.

A spokesperson for Australian cruise operator Aurora Expeditions said everyone on board was safe and well.