Due to an extensive rescue operation the transport vessel Alma was narrowly prevented from running ashore in the mouth of Hornafjördur in southeast Iceland on Friday night. The steering equipment of the 100-meter long ship suffered a failure.
The new Coast Guard cruiser Thór was called out during the rescue operation. Photo by Páll Kjartansson.
“We were all nervous; it was a difficult operation,” Vignir Júlíusson, harbor pilot at Hornafjördur who was onboard the tugboat Björn lóds, commented to Morgunbladid.
Alma is registered in Cyprus and has a crew of 16, 14 who come from Ukraine and two from Russia.
Júlíusson said there had been a very real danger of an accident because Alma was in shallow waters when the Coast Guard received a report that the ship’s steering wheel had fallen off. However, the propeller and engine were still in one piece.
The tugboat Hoffell, which was located at a distance of six nautical miles from the ship, was called to the scene and managed to tow it to harbor in Fáskrúdsfjördur.
Originally, Alma was supposed to be taken to the harbor at Reydarfjördur but due to poor weather forecast, they opted for the shorter route to Fáskrúdsfjördur.
In addition to the two tugboats, the rescue vessel of the search and rescue team in Höfn was called out, as were the Coast Guard cruisers Thór and Aegir.
A steersman from the Coast Guard was brought aboard Alma with the Coast Guard helicopter TF-LÍF and an interpreter was called out to the Coast Guard’s control center to ease communication with the vessel’s Ukrainian captain.
The helicopter crew was busy on the weekend because yesterday it was also called out to pick up a fisherman who had fallen ill onboard the vessel Brúarfoss west of the Westman Islands, Fréttabladid reports.
TF-LÍF arrived at the Landspítali national hospital in Reykjavík at around 4 pm. Yesterday evening the man’s condition was determined as stable. He had become seriously ill yet his condition was not life-threatening.