The Danish navy stationed in Greenland has warned of impending Titanic-style disasters as cruise liners stray too close to the region’s icebergs.
The Danish navy, which polices Greenland’s oceanic waterways, has stationed two of its heavier ships inside the shipping lanes used by cruise boats on the west and east of Greenland under rising fears that icebergs and passenger ships are coming into ever closer contact, reports Politiken.
“We are responsible for rescue in Arctic waters from Cape Farewell in southern Greenland to the North Pole. It’s a vast area and we are obviously not able to be everywhere,” said the Commanding Officer of the Danish base in the southern Greenland’s Arsuk fjord Rear Admiral Henrik Kudsk.
“Experience from Antarctica shows that you need a cruise ship to rescue a cruise ship – no other vessels have the capacity. So we are advising cruise companies to cooperate and sail in pairs in Greenland waters,” said Kudsk from the Gronnedal navy base.
Fellow navy commander Jan Bogted feels that, “In fact, it is not a question of if, but when it happens. It’s only a question of time before an accident occurs”. In such a situation, Bogsted would be in charge of coordinating the rescue of some 4,200 people in icy waters.
“Cruises are sold as adventures – getting close enough to ice packs so that you can almost touch them. The closer you get, the more adventurous it is and the better the stories to tell back home. That’s how the cruise companies see it. But for those of us who deal with rescue, we want them to keep as far away from icebergs and glaciers as possible. It is extremely dangerous to get too close,” Bogsted claimed.
In 2009 there were thirty-six cruise ship visits to Greenland. At one point fourteen were on the waters on the same day, two with over four thousand on board.