Tourist Death in Djúpivogur, Southeast Iceland

Djúpivogur - eggin í Gleðivík

Safety matters are being reviewed in the town of Djúpivogur, Southeast Iceland, after the death of a foreign tourist there yesterday, RÚV reports. The man was in his sixties and was on a walk with relatives when he was run over by a construction vehicle. A priest attended to witnesses and the man’s relatives received trauma assistance from the Red Cross at Egilsstaðir, East Iceland later that day.

Heavy foot and vehicular traffic

The harbour area of Djúpivogur where the man was run over is the site of ongoing construction, as well as the site of a much-visited sculpture installation. The sculpture, by Sigurður Guðmundsson, consists of a row of oversized bird eggs carved in stone and placed along the shore. When it was installed in 2009, there was little industrial activity in the harbour and therefore less traffic.

Since that time, however, both tourist and industrial activity have increased at the site, leading to more vehicular and foot traffic. A rope had been installed to separate pedestrians from vehiclular traffic, but it had been removed at the time of the accident. According to residents of the town, the rope had been removed due to construction activities.

Authorities are reviewing safety protocols at the site and whether to install additional signage.

New Technology for Prawn Fishing Uses Light to Reduce Emissions

An Icelandic company has developed a technology for prawn fishing that uses light to herd prawn up from the sea floor. This allows the fishing equipment to remain off the sea floor, leading to less disturbance of the environment and lower emissions than conventional trawling. The technology is set to be put on the market soon.

Herding prawn with light

“We are developing the next generation of fishing equipment. Fishing equipment that can fly close to the bottom without touching the bottom. Then we have a light that herds,” Halla Jónsdóttir, founder of Optitog, told RÚV reporters. Optitog has named this patented light beam technology “Virtual Trawl” and has data that shows that it results in higher yields, compared to using the equipment with the light off.

“We have a special light that forms a sort of wall or line in the sea and we see that it works to herd [the prawn].” The prawn swims ahead of the light, up off the sea floor and into the nets. It’s possible to set the equipment so that it travels a consistent distance above the sea floor, for example 30 centimetres [11.8 inches].

Lower emissions

Because Optitog’s equipment does not trawl along the sea floor, it encounters 30% less resistance than conventional trawling, meaning the method drastically reduces fuel consumption. By leaving the sea floor largely undisturbed, the new technology also reduces CO2 emissions caused by disturbing organic material on the bottom of the ocean.

Halla says that a Norwegian party is working to put Optitog on the market as an environmentally-friendly fishing technology. Halla believes the technology could be applied to fishing other species.

Iceland’s Interest Rates Pass Pre-Pandemic Heights

Central Bank Ásgeir Jónsson seðlabankastjóri

The Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank of Iceland has decided to raise the bank’s interest rates by 1%. The bank’s key interest rate is now 4.75%, higher than it has been since March 2019, when it stood at 4.5%. The hike continues a trend of rising rates, with the Central Bank citing inflation as a key factor.

Growth in Iceland but uncertain global outlook

While the Central Bank reports that GDP growth was somewhat stronger in the first quarter of this year than assumed in their May forecast and domestic economic activity remains strong, it underlines that the global economic outlook is “highly uncertain.” Households’ and businesses’ expectations about economic developments have also grown “more tepid,” according to the MPC.

Inflation to continue

Inflation rose to 7.6% in May, with house prices and other domestic cost items cited as “strong drivers of inflation.” Price hikes are widespread and global oil and commodity prices have also risen sharply, the Central Bank notes. Inflation expectations have risen by most measures and are above target.

See Also: Government Approves Measures to Counteract Inflation

“The MPC considers it likely that the monetary stance will have to be tightened even further so as to ensure that inflation eases back to target within an acceptable time frame,” the statement from the committee concludes.

Iceland’s Central Bank lowered interest rates repeatedly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic with the stated aims of bolstering the economy and maintaining stability on the housing market. Rates reached a historic low of 0.75% in November 2020, but the Central Bank began raising rates steadily once more in early 2021.

Special Forces in Hafnarfjörður Due to Possible Shooting

police car

Update 22.06.22 12:53 PM: RÚV reports that the suspected shooter came out of the apartment building around 12:20 PM and was arrested and taken to the police station. A formal investigation of the incident will now begin. Police will open the cordoned-off area shortly. Affected residents are advised to call the Red Cross helpline at 1717 if they require support.

Update 22.06.22 10:00 AM: RÚV reports that the incident involves a gun being shot at a car outside an apartment building on Miðvöllur street, behind the Nettó store. The police believe the shooter is in their apartment in the building and police are on the phone with him. The area is considered unsafe and has been cordoned off by police, who are ensuring that no one enters the area.

Special police forces are on the scene in Hafnarfjörður in the Reykjavík capital area due to a suspected shooting, RÚV reports. Víðivellir preschool has been closed and parents have been notified that the children who have arrived at the school are safe. According to RÚV’s sources, the response is due to a possible shooting near the preschool.

Superintendent of Hafnarfjörður Police Skúli Jónsson confirmed that special forces had been called out but declined to provide further information on the incident at this time.

All access routes to and from the school have been closed.

This news story will be updated.