Arctic Umiaq Line

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Arctic Umiaq Line
Industry Transport
Founded 2006[1]
Headquarters Nuuk, Greenland
Area served
Products Coastal trade and passenger ferry
Decrease DKK 8.1 million
Number of employees
Parent Air Greenland, Royal Arctic Line

Arctic Umiaq Line A/S (AUL) or Arctic Umiaq is a passenger and freight shipping line in Greenland.[2] Its name derives from the Kalaallisut word for the traditional Inuit passenger boat, the umiak, distinguished from the kayak, used for hunting. The sea connection provided by Arctic Umiaq is a lifeline for the entire western and southwestern Greenland.[3] It is a subsidiary of Air Greenland and Royal Arctic Line.[4][5]


Sarfaq Ittuk moored at Ilulissat port

Arctic Umiaq Line was founded in 2006.[1] Like many Greenlandic companies, it can trace its operations to former divisions of the Royal Greenland Trade Department[6] prior to its 1986 handover to the Greenland Home Rule Government.

Since 2007, Arctic Umiaq Line has been operating at a deficit,[7] with the CEO Søren Grønhøj Andersen sued for mismanagement.[8] The company carried fewer passengers for the first nine months of 2009 than in the comparable period of the previous year.[9]

The Greenland Home Rule Government has continued to provide loss guarantees to the joint owners. In fiscal 2011, this amounted to DKK 8.1 million, and Royal Arctic Line announced that loss guarantees have been secured through 2016.[1]


Map of the coastal route of Arctic Umiaq

The ferry service operates from late April until early January.[10] As of 2010, Arctic Umiaq Line employs 40 people,[11] operating one ship on the Ilulissat-Narsaq route along the coast of western and southwestern Greenland.

Ports of call[edit]

The Sarfaq Ittuk stops in the following towns on its coastal journey, with the approximate times for a southbound journey listed for illustration:[12]

Name Latitude N Elapsed time (hours) Notes
Ilulissat 69°13′12″ 0
Aasiaat 68°42′35″ 04.30
Sisimiut 66°56′20″ 16.00
Kangaamiut 65°49′30″ 24.30
Maniitsoq 65°25′00″ 28.30
Nuuk 64°10′00″ 37.30 The longest, 2-hour stop
Qeqertarsuatsiaat 63°05′20″ 47.30
Paamiut 61°59′40″ 54.30
Arsuk 61°10′30″ 61.15
Qaqortoq 60°43′20″ 70.00 The ship turns northeast at Qaqortoq, sailing to Narsaq via Tunulliarfik Fjord
Narsaq 60°54′44″ 73.00 Summer only

Until 2008, the service had been extended to Narsarsuaq during summer.[13]:102


Sarpik Ittuk now sails as M/S Ocean Nova of Nova Cruising.

Current fleet[edit]

The only ship in operation is M/S Sarfaq Ittuk (IMO 8913899).[14] Built in 1992,[14] it was subsequently renovated and upgraded in 2000 in the Gdańsk Shipyard in Gdańsk, Poland.[15]

The ship has a 249-passenger capacity, with 52 2-bed cabins, and 145[15] communal (compartment or couchette) rollout beds on the two lower decks.[15]

It has a length (overall) of 72.8 m, a Gross tonnage of 2118 t, and freight capacity (Deadweight) of 163 t.

Former fleet[edit]

M/S Sarpik Ittuk – which serviced the Upernavik Archipelago, the Uummannaq Fjord region, and Disko Bay[13]:198–199 – was sold in 2006 to Nova Cruising, a company from the Bahamas.[16]

As of 2010 Disko Bay is served by Diskoline on the governmental contract, whereas transport services between Upernavik Archipelago and the Uummannaq Fjord region are provided by infrequent cargo/ferry ships of Royal Arctic Line.[17]



  1. ^ a b c RAL. "Annual Report 2011[permanent dead link]".
  2. ^ AUL. "Arctic Umiaq Line A/S". Accessed 28 Aug 2010.
  3. ^ Sisimiut. "Shipping[permanent dead link]". Accessed 28 Aug 2010.
  4. ^ Hotel Arctic. "About the group". Accessed 27 Aug 2010.
  5. ^ Air Greenland. "Subsidiary companies Archived 2010-05-24 at the Wayback Machine.". Accessed 28 Aug 2010.
  6. ^ AUL. "About us". Accessed 28 Aug 2010.
  7. ^ "Uvis skæbne for kystsejlads". Sermitsiaq (in Danish). 27 January 2010. Retrieved 28 August 2010. 
  8. ^ "Tidligere AUL-direktør stævnet for 15,5 millioner kroner". Sermitsiaq (in Danish). 10 September 2009. Retrieved 28 August 2010. 
  9. ^ "AUL får røde tal i 2009". Sermitsiaq (in Danish). 22 October 2009. Retrieved 28 August 2010. 
  10. ^ "Timetables". AUL, Official Website. Retrieved 28 August 2010. 
  11. ^ "Kystsejladsen stopper måske". Sermitsiaq (in Danish). 16 March 2010. Retrieved 28 August 2010. 
  12. ^ "Timetable 2009" (PDF). AUL, Official Website. Retrieved 28 August 2010. [permanent dead link]
  13. ^ a b O'Carroll, Etain (2005). Greenland and the Arctic. Lonely Planet. ISBN 1-74059-095-3. 
  14. ^ a b "Sarfaq Ittuk". MarineTraffic, Vessel Traffic and Positions. Retrieved 28 August 2010. 
  15. ^ a b c "Vessel". AUL, Official Website. Retrieved 28 August 2010. 
  16. ^ "Greenland cruise vessel sold to US owner". inforMARE. 21 November 2006. Archived from the original on 22 July 2011. Retrieved 28 August 2010. 
  17. ^ "Ankomster / Afgange". Royal Arctic Line. Retrieved 28 August 2010.