Stranded Cargo Ship Refloated

Cargo Ship Wilson Skaw stranded in Húnaflói

The cargo ship Wilson Skaw was refloated around 9:00 this morning.

The 113m-long cargo ship ran aground on April 19 in Húnaflói bay, off the north coast of Iceland.

The Freyja coastguard vessel is now towing the ship, but the going is slow to avoid other skerries and reefs in the area.

Read More: Cargo Ship Stranded Off North Iceland

Ásgeir Erlendsson, a spokesperson for the Coast Guard, stated to Vísir: “What’s happening now is that the Freyja coastguard vessel is slowly towing the ship in the hope of getting it into deeper water. However, it must be kept in mind that there are quite a few underwater rocks in the area.”

The Coast Guard is now moving the ship to deeper waters, as it has been stranded since Tuesday. The ship was carrying two thousand tonnes of salt and 195 tonnes of oil when it ran aground.

Minor damage to the hull was recorded, but luckily, there was no leakage. The Coast Guard had placed containment nets around the grounded ship as a security measure briefly following its stranding.

“It’s crucial to protect the environment in situations like this. Fortunately, there are no signs of oil leakage into the sea,” Ásgeir further stated.

The Wilson Skaw is operated by Wilson Ship Management AS.


Cargo Ship Stranded Off North Iceland

Cargo Ship Wilson Skaw stranded in Húnaflói

Cargo ship Wilson Skaw, 4000 tonnes and 113 m long, was stranded on Ennishöfði in Húnaflói Bay yesterday. The ship was on its way from Hvammstangi to Hólmavík when it was stranded. The captain notified the Coast Guard in the afternoon and the Coast Guard sent its vessel Freyja to their location, as well as asking the helicopter crew to prepare. A rescue ship from the Skagaströnd search-and-rescue team was also asked to head to the cargo ship’s location.

Cargo Ship Wilson Skaw stranded in Húnaflói
Guðmundur St Valdimarsson. Cargo Ship Wilson Skaw stranded in Húnaflói

According to the captain, the cargo ship’s crew felt alright. The conditions at the stranding site were good and the weather was as good as could be expected.

Coast Guard vessel Freyja arrived around seven last night and installed a pollution fence around Wilson Skaw this morning. It shows no signs of oil leakage but the fence was installed as a security measure. Coast Guard divers inspected the ship and found that it was stuck on a 50 m stretch and won’t be budged for a few days at least. The shipping company is preparing a rescue plan, but the Freyja crew is available for aid if the need arises.

The ship might have to be lightened before it can be moved. On board are just under 2,000 tonnes of salt and 195 tonnes of oil.

Pollution fence around Wilson Skaw
Guðmundur St Valdimarsson. Pollution fence around Wilson Skaw

President Takes Part in Rescue Mission

iceland coast guard

President of Iceland Guðni Th. Jóhannesson was involved in a small adventure when his trip to the Westfjords took a small detour yesterday, January 22.

The president was on his way to Patreksfjörður, a small town in the Westfjords, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of an avalanche there that left four residents dead.

Following heavy snowfall in January 1983, two avalanches tore off large parts of the hillside surrounding the town, leaving some 30 residents missing, including many children.

In total, 19 houses in Patreksförður were damaged, and 500 residents sought refuge in group shelters during the night. The avalanches are one of the most significant events in the town’s history and are commemorated annually. This year, a special 40-year anniversary took place, with a church service, musical performances, and a ceremony that included a candle-lighting and laying of commemorative wreaths.

iceland coast guard
President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson aboard the coast guard ship Freyja – Forseti Íslands Facebook

President of Iceland Guðni Th. Jóhannesson had also planned to be in attendance at the special ceremony.

However, as the president stated in a public post on Facebook, “not everything goes according to plan.”

On his way to the Westfjords to join in the commemoration, the coast guard ship Freyja, on which he was a passenger, had to make a small detour.

The crew of Freyja was tasked with assisting Hrafn Sveinbjarnarson GK, a fishing ship that needed a tow off of Halamið, an important fishing ground off the northwest coast of the Westfjords.

After Freyja took the ship in tow, they headed their separate ways: Freyja en route to Akureyri, and Hrafn on its way south.

President Guðni added: “It’s no joke to be out on the open sea without light and heat, right by an ice sheet. But luckily it was calm weather, and probably nowhere in Iceland was nicer than out on Halamið today.”

Nammigate: Danish Neocolonists Appropriate Beloved Icelandic Liquorice

icelandic candy liquorice

The Danes are at it again: not content with centuries of exploitation, trade domination, and the impoverishment of the Icelandic people, the Danes have perhaps committed their greatest crime against our island nation in recent weeks by claiming a beloved Icelandic tradition as their own.

The controversy came to light when actor and comedian Vilhelm Neto brought the above post to light from Danish company, Lakrids by Bülow. The original post claimed that despite the limits of modern confectionary technology, Danish researchers were nevertheless able to combine the two sweets to make something entirely new: chocolate-coated liquorice.

Stating that he was “all in” to “start drama” with Denmark, Vilhelm Neto critiqued the Danish confectioners: “As if  some scientist barged in, sweaty and nervous, and said: ‘No, you can’t put the two together! It’s simply not possible!'” 

As most visitors to Iceland will know, liquorice is a mainstay in most sweets, with chocolate-covered liquorice being especially beloved.

Pétur Thor Gunnarsson, managing director of the Icelandic confectioner Freyja, set the record straight in a statement to Vísir.

“These Danes are taking our honour,” he stated. “Already in 1984, our product called Draumur was on the market. This was the first of its kind.”

Draumur is one of Freyja’s most popular candy bars, consisting of two parallel straws of liquorice covered in milk chocolate. 

Since the release of Draumur, numerous other liquorce-chocolate sweets have been introduced to the market in Iceland.

According to original research by Iceland Review’s reporters, the Icelandic confections required relatively little research and development before hitting the market.

Freyja Dispatched to First Rescue Operation

An Icelandic Coast Guard vessel

The Icelandic Coast Guard’s newest patrol ship, Freyja took part in its first rescue operation Thursday, RÚV reports. Freyja towed the Greenlandic fishing vessel Masilik, which had run aground on the Reykjanes peninsula, into the Hafnarfjörður harbour.

A “technological wonder”

On Thursday evening, the Icelandic Coast Guard received word that the Greenlandic fishing vessel Masilik had run aground 500 meters off the shore of Gerðistangi point on the Reykjanes peninsula in Southwest Iceland. Fortunately, the Coast Guard’s newest patrol ship, which arrived in the country in November, was moored in the Hafnarfjörður harbour, having just towed a boat into the port from the north.

At around 7 pm Thursday, Freyja set off toward Gerðistangi, assisted by the towboat Hamar, a helicopter, and a search-and-rescue team.

Speaking to RÚV yesterday morning, Friðrik Höskuldsson, Freyja’s captain, remarked that the ship had performed exceedingly well. “The rescue operation went well. The weather conditions were difficult at first – with winds up to 24 metres per second. It was an offshore breeze, however, so it met us fairly well. It took some time to manage conditions and check for an oil leak.”

Freyja succeeded in extracting Masalik from the cliff upon which it had settled. “Freyja did fantastic. She’s a technological wonder, raising the standard of the Icelandic Coast Guard by a great deal. She’s an excellent ship.”

Better safe than sorry

Masilik arrived in the Hafnarfjörður harbour yesterday morning.

According to Friðrik, the crew of the fishing vessel was never in any real danger, although one can never make such estimations with full confidence. “You never know when something like this happens whether the ship stays on keel or capsizes. In this instance, it worked out okay. But for safety’s sake, we sent the Greenlanders to land … they wanted to get to land, and a vessel from Landsbjörg transported fourteen of the crew to Vogar í Vatnsleysuströnd.

New Ship Freyja Increases Coast Guard’s Response Capacity

Freyja coast guard ship

The Icelandic Coast Guard’s new patrol ship Freyja has arrived in Iceland. The ship is currently located in Reykjavík harbour for the installation of equipment but its home port will be Siglufjörður, North Iceland. With the Coast Guard’s other patrol ship, Þór, stationed in Reykjavík, response time to emergencies will shorten across the country.

The decision to make Siglufjörður Freyja’s home port was jointly made by the Coast Guard and Ministry of Justice. As a press release from the Coast Guard explains, “With increased ship travel in the Arctic, the number of trips by large cargo and oil vessels along the east and north coasts of Iceland increases. The number of cruise ships are also expected to increase, and there is no need to extrapolate on the threats posed to the ecosystem in the event of danger. Hours to or from [the scene of an event] can be crucial. With Þór in Reykjavík and Freyja in Siglufjörður, the Coast Guard’s response capacity around the country has been increased and it will be easier to ensure the safety of seafarers, Icelanders, and resources at sea.”

Freyja is comparable to Þór in terms of its size and equipment, but has greater towing capacity. With Freyja’s arrival, the Coast Guard’s older patrol ship Týr will be relieved of duty. Freyja, Þór, and Týr are all names taken from Norse mythology, a tradition for the naming of Coast Guard ships.

The new ship arrived in Reykjavík harbour last Monday afternoon and is now being outfitted with a computer system and other equipment. Freyja is scheduled to set off on its first patrol mission on November 22, and will end the mission in Siglufjörður on December 9.

Freshly-Painted Freyja Coming to Iceland

An Icelandic Coast Guard vessel

The Icelandic Coast Guard’s new patrol ship Freyja is expected to arrive in Iceland on November 6. The ship has already been painted in the flag colours and its crew has arrived in Rotterdam, the Netherlands to sail Freyja home to Siglufjörður. Freyja is 86 metres long and 20 metres wide, and will join the Coast Guard’s other main patrol ship Þór in monitoring Icelandic waters.

Freyja is similar to Þór in terms of size and equipment, though with greater towing and rescue capacity. Both ships are specially equipped to carry out law enforcement as well as search and rescue missions in Iceland’s demanding conditions.

Þór’s arrival to Iceland just over 10 years ago marked a turning point in the Icelandic Coast Guard’s search and rescue ability. The ship was used as a mobile power station for Dalvík two years ago and provided a large part of the town with electricity during a power outage. The ship’s towing capacity has come to good use in towing incapacitated ships over the years.

Dangerous Conditions in Kópavogur Fire


At 3.30 am tonight, the Capital District Fire and Rescue Service was notified of a fire in Vesturvör 36 in Kópavogur, RÚV reports. The building, which is roughly 3,000 m2, houses the Hamar machine shop, the Freyja chocolate factory, and boat manufacturer Rafnar, among others. All units were dispatched, among them off-duty firefighters.

In an interview with RÚV earlier this morning, Vernharð Guðnason, a divisional manager with the Fire and Rescue Service, stated that good progress had been made: “We’re still endeavouring to put out a few minor flames, but all of the major fires have been extinguished, and the firefighting, generally speaking, went exceptionally well.”

According to Vernharð, conditions were quite dangerous: “Yes, certainly. This is the kind of operation (Hamar machine shop) with a lot of gas tanks and welding equipment, along with a certain kind of fuel, and there is also a plastics factory in one section of the building. So, yes, the conditions were quite dangerous initially.”

Vernharð added that a large part of the building was unscathed. “It’s mainly one company that suffered the most damages, and they are significant,” Vernharð stated, referring to the Hamar machine shop.

In an interview with Vísir, Kári Pálsson, owner of Hamar, said that watching the company burn was a great shock. “The heart of the company is gone,” Kári said, adding that this morning he had begun looking for another building in the area from which to conduct the company’s operations. Other companies offered to help.

Hamar, which has been in operations since 1998, operates a total of five sites in Hafnarfjörður, Grundartangi, Akureyri, Eskifirði, and in Kópavogur, the latter of which being the biggest. Approximately 60 people work in Hamar’s shop in Kópavogur. Kári stated that the company was insured and that it was a great relief that no one was injured.