Two in Custody After Accident at Sea

Coast Guard vessel Freyja in Húnaflói Bay

Questioning of the captain and first mate of the cargo ship Longdawn continue today following an incident yesterday. The two individuals are suspected of having abandoned the scene of an accident after the coastal fishing boat Hadda capsized the night before last.

May have caused an accident, abandoned the scene

Vísir states that evidence suggests that the cargo ship collided with the man’s coastal fishing boat, causing him to fall into the sea, though he was narrowly rescued.

The accident occurred around 3 a.m. during the night of May 16.

According to Ásgeir Erlendsson, communications officer from the Icelandic Coast Guard, an investigation of the fishing boat’s movements and a comparison with other ships in the area revealed that the Longdawn was in the same location at the same time. Consequently, the cargo ship’s crew was taken in for questioning.

Karl Gauti Hjaltason, the police chief in Vestmannaeyjar, confirmed that the captain in question is a Russian national.

Transferred to Keflavík

RÚV reports that the men in question were taken into custody in the Westman islands last night, but were then transferred to Keflavík.

The investigation of the maritime accident is under the jurisdiction of the Suðurnes police. Two crew members, a mate and a deckhand, were released after questioning yesterday.

Search Continues for Fisherman Who Fell Overboard

The Icelandic Coast Guard defended Iceland during the Cod Wars

The search continues for a sailor who fell overboard a fishing vessel just outside the Faxaflói Bay on Friday afternoon. RÚV reports that the search and rescue operation is the most extensive of its kind in years, with eight ships and one of the Coast Guard’s helicopters currently taking part.

Ships went out in search of the man as soon as the Coast Guard got word of his accident at around 5:00 pm on Friday. At the time, two helicopters, the Coast Guard’s patrol ship Þór, and 14 fishing vessels and search and rescue boats joined the search. The majority of the search was paused just before 1:00 am on Saturday morning, although the patrol ship Þór continued to look overnight.

The search resumed in full at 10:00 am on Sunday morning; one of the Coast Guard’s helicopters joined in around 11:00 am. Given the time that had passed since the sailor fell overboard, the search area was expanded to a radius of ten nautical miles to the northwest of the Garðskagi peninsula.

Guðmundur Birkir Agnarsson, the Coast Guard’s operations manager, said that search conditions on Sunday were worse than they were the day before, with stronger winds and waves, and more limited visibility. At time of writing, the sea temperature in Faxaflói Bay was about 5°C [41°F].

Accidents at sea have, thankfully, become far less common than they used to be in Iceland. “Over the last few years, we haven’t had any fatal accidents at sea, including with people falling overboard,” said Guðmundur Birkir. “So this probably the most extensive search we’ve had in recent years.”

Search and rescue efforts will continue until darkness falls, Guðmundur Birkir confirmed, although he did not say how efforts would continue if the missing man had not been found by then.

Read more about how Icelandic fishermen are trained to stay safe.