No Emergency Calls and No Helicopter Available Skip to content

No Emergency Calls and No Helicopter Available

By Gréta Sigríður Einarsdóttir

TF-GRÓ Icelandic Coast Guard Helicopter
Photo: Golli.

The Icelandic Coast Guard received no emergency requests last night. Since midnight, they have had no helicopter ready to respond to emergency requests. If the Coast Guard’s air mechanics’ wage negotiations aren’t resolved, the Coast Guard will have no helicopters operational after December 14.

Read more: Air Mechanics’ Strike Leaves Coast Guard Without Helicopter For Rescue Operations

For the past few weeks, the Icelandic Coast Guard has had an impaired ability to service emergency requests as they’ve only had one operational helicopter, TF-GRÓ, as the Coast Guard’s other helicopter, TF-EIR, is awaiting maintenance. At midnight, TF-GRÓ was due for scheduled maintenance, so for at least the next two days, the Coast Guard’s ability to respond to emergency requests will be severely impaired. If the routine maintenance reveals further maintenance requirements, it could be even longer. Icelandic Coast Guard spokesperson Ásgeir Erlendsson informed Morgunblaðið that after December 14, the Coast Guard will have no helicopter at all. He added that the longer the strike goes on, the longer it will take to repair the aircraft as grounded helicopters deteriorate quicker than ones that fly regularly. Even if the strike ended this week, the Coast Guard would only have the two operational helicopters they require for ten days in December.

Morgunblaðið’s sources report that the Ministry of Justice has a bill ready, proposing legislation that would stop the air mechanics’ strike, but that not all members of the government agree on taking such measures to stop the negotiations. Reportedly, Left-Green ministers oppose the bill, Morgunblaðið reports. Left-Green Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir told Morgunblaðið that she hadn’t seen a bill like that and stressed that due to the nature of this work, all negotiating parties should do their very best to come to a conclusion.

The negotiating committees of the Coast Guard air mechanics and the government had a meeting with the State Conciliation and Mediation Officer at nine this morning. Talks lasted until four pm yesterday with no success.

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