Container ship gets stuck in arctic ice

Container ship Malik Arctica (IMO 9618135) became stuck in polar ice off Greenland, according to Greenland shipping company Royal Arctic Line.

The vessel was in no immediate danger. The ship’s owners said that the last time one of its ships got stuck in the ice was in 2007, when the Arina Arctica was delayed for six days.

Royal Arctic Line, which is owned by the Government of Greenland, is responsible for delivering supplies to Greenland’s 13 largest ports. It carries more than 85,000 shipments a year between Denmark and Greenland.

The ship calls at most ports in Greenland, both on the east coast and the west coast, delivering supplies, including fuel, to remote communities.

While making a winter supply delivery on October 7th the vessel became stuck in the ice as she approached Ittoqqortoormiit, a remote community located in southeastern Greenland. Efforts were underway to free the ship and the owner was coordinating with the Arctic Command and other authorities.

Royal Arctic Line said that wind conditions and other weather factors would determine when the ship would be freed. It said that “the ice conditions right now are a challenge. it is storis (a translation of the Eskimo expression sikorssuit (great ice)), and not winter ice that is currently preventing Malik Arctica from docking at the harbour and unfortunately the storis’ movements are more difficult to predict than ordinary winter ice”.

Storis is a mass of polar ice floes that is driven into the area by winds and sea currents. Malik Arctica has a strengthened hull that permits it to pass through early winter ice, but it cannot pass through storis.

By the afternoon of October 8th the Malik Arctica was able to free itself back into the ocean where it was sitting off the port, waiting for the ice conditions to improve.

“Royal Arctic Line cannot at present say when the ship can sail into Ittoqqortoormiit, but we are keeping a close eye on the ice situation,” the ship owner said.

2017-built, Denmark-flagged, 10,537 gt Malik Arctica is owned and managed by Royal Arctic Line AS of Nuussuaq, Greenland. It is entered with Skuld (Business Unit Skuld Copenhagen) on behalf of Royal Arctic Line AS