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 Area Expanded as Missing Fisherman Still Not Found

The Coast Guard has expanded the search area in its effort to find a missing fisherman who fell overboard last Friday. A prayer service was held for the man in Grindavík on Sunday.

Most extensive search effort in years

The search continues for a fisherman who fell overboard just outside Faxaflói Bay on Friday afternoon. The man, a Grindavík resident and father of three, was a fisherman on the longline fishing boat Sighvatur GK-57, which is owned and operated by the Grindavík-based fishing company Vísir hf. The police have interviewed the ship’s captain and have deemed the incident a “tragic accident,” Vísir reports.

Read More: A Brief History of Iceland’s Maritime Safety and Survival Training Centre

The search effort is the most extensive of its kind in years, Guðmundur Birkir Agnarsson, Director of Operations with the Icelandic Coast Guard, told the hosts of the radio programme Morgunútvarpið yesterday morning. On Saturday, fifteen boats participated in the search – among them the patrol ship Þór – in addition to two helicopters.

Given how many days have passed since the man fell into the sea, the Coast Guard has expanded the search area from 10 x 10 nautical miles to 18 x 18 nautical miles. Ásgeir Erlendsson, Public Relations Officer for the Icelandic Coast Guard, told yesterday that search conditions have been relatively good, despite not having found the man.

Prayer service in Grindavík

A prayer service was held for the fisherman in Grindavík on Sunday. Fannar Jónsson, Mayor of Grindavík, told Vísir that the community was ‘deeply saddened’ and that all they could do was wait.

According to Fannar, the prayer service was well attended, for an event such as this has an outsized effect on such a small community:

“Yes, it’s very hard. You have a big family and friends … the crew, the company, and the sailor’s family, they’re all hurting. But there’s a solidarity and a unity among the community, whenever something like this happens.”

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.

Foreign Fisherman Electrocuted by Eystri-Rangá River

fishing rangá

South Iceland’s police report that yeterday, September 6, a foreign fisherman was electrocuted while fishing in the Eystri-Rangá river. The fisherman was taken to Hvolsvöllur for medical care, and has since been transferred to Reykjavík.

The man, reported to be in his 60’s, survived the incident with severe burns, but further details regarding his condition are not known at this time.

The original police report can be seen below in a public Facebook post from the South Iceland police.

The cause of the incident is attributed to longer-than average fishing gear, which is said to have hit a power line.

The fisherman is said to be experienced, but was using a style of telescoping pole that can reach 8-10m in length. This style of rod is uncommon in Iceland, but relatively popular in Spain. As of this time, the origin of the fisherman is unclear.

Such incidents are nearly-unheard of in Iceland. Nevertheless. RÚV reports that the power lines in questions may be buried next year to avoid such an incident.