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Cruise ship stuck in Arctic after running aground

July 14, 1997 GMT

OSLO, Norway (AP) _ A German cruise ship with 260 people aboard was stuck in the Arctic today after running aground near Norway’s Svalbard archipelago. No injuries or damage were reported.

The Hanseatic ran aground Sunday afternoon 400 miles north of the mainland. Passengers used the unscheduled stop for excursions aboard rubber rafts to the islands, said Klaus Helms, a spokesman for ship owner Hapag-Lloyd of Hamburg, Germany.

``Everything is fine with the passengers and crew. They took it calmly,″ he told the Norwegian news agency NTB.

Two coast guard ships were en route today, but officials said no effort would be made to free the ship until a third coast guard vessel arrives Wednesday.

Weather was calm and it was not clear why the Hanseatic ran aground, but officials said maps showing hazards in the remote waters are incomplete. Svalbard, with its many polar bears, is a popular cruise destination.

In August 1996, the Hanseatic was stuck for a week off the coast of Canada’s Northwest Territories.