Icelandic Coast Guard

In recent years, the work of the Icelandic Coast Guard (ICG) has undergone considerable changes. These changes have been due to economic factors, technological advances as well as altered conditions in the field. In addition to law enforcement issues and search and rescue (SAR), the ICG´s main role consists of the general protection and conservation of natural resources in the broadest sense of the term. This includes pollution monitoring, environmental disasters, maritime safety and illegal fishing. Search and rescue activities, however, remain at the core of the ICG´s work. Considerable effort has been invested in strengthening ICG capabilities in this area as much as circumstances have allowed. New equipment featuring the latest improvements in technology has already brought significant changes.

New surveillance and rescue aircraft which was used regularly during the volcanic eruption of Eyjafjallajökull and proved its unique qualities. The surveillance equipment of the aircraft enabled the ICG to map the development of the eruption in great detail.  The arrival of the new vessel Þór will bring a positive change. This vessel will make a considerable difference for our SAR capabilities, general patrolling duties and prevention of environmental pollution. Towing capabilities of ÞÓR are quite good and mean revolution to our work and a large step forward in securing maritime safety in the waters around Iceland.

Recent years have also brought extensive changes in the technical equipment and remote monitoring capabilities of the operations centre as well as new partnership agreements with neighbour states, in particular with Danish institutions operating both East and West of Iceland. This enabled the ICG to carry out surveillance and patrol in the sea areas around Iceland to a large degree in cooperation with neighbouring countries. Economic zones of all these nations together are extensive and difficult to cover, but during recent years, a number of partnership agreements have been signed regarding search, patrol and rescue activities in the North Atlantic.

In 2010, the directive On the Control of the Search and Rescue in the Search and Rescue Region of Iceland for a Maritime and Aeronautical Rescue came into effect and marked an important stepping stone. From then on the ICG is responsible both for maritime and aeronautical SAR in the Icelandic Search and Rescue Region, SRR. Following this, an agreement was signed with ISAVIA in regards of cooperation and division of SAR-related tasks for aircraft. Following this agreement, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) carried out an evaluation of the ICG´s Operations Centre, which passed with flying colours. Among the Operations Centres tasks are the JRCC-Iceland (Joint Rescue Command Centre) duties.

At this point in time, we can already foresee dramatic changes on our planet. The melting of the icecaps and the opening of new waterways will doubtless have tremendous impact all over the world and most definitely here in Iceland. The position of the island in the middle of the North Atlantic places the country at the centre of these waterways implying a number of considerable changes. Therefore, it is absolutely essential for the Icelandic nation to maintain and continue to develop all operations which currently make up the duties of the ICG.

Positions of sub-surface current meter moorings in the Denmark Strait

August 26th, 2011

The moorings consist of an anchor and a wire with instruments and this
kept straight by a sub-surface buoy at ca. 100 m depth which is the
shallowest part of the moorings.

The moorings will be put out during the period August 25-31 2011 and will stay in the
water until September 2012

One should not go closer than 1 nautical mile from the moorings

Contacts: Héðinn Valdimarsson (hv@hafro.is) tel: +354 575 2000
          Steingrímur Jónsson (steing@unak.is) tel: +354 460 8000

   Sub-surface mooring    Latitude N       Longitude W    Estimated  
                                                       bottom depth(m)

       HAFRO-DS1         66°04.61          27°04.88        573
       WHOI-DS1          67°12.18          23°31.86        275
       WHOI-DS2          67°16.20          23°34.80        398
       WHOI-DS3          67°20.40          23°37.98        500
       WHOI-DS4          67°24.96          23°41.52        620
       WHOI-DS5          67°29.28          23°45.06        750
       HAFRO-KGA6        67°34.80          23°53.46        950
       HAFRO-KGA7        67°42.60          24°10.20       1250
       NIOZ-DS5          67°52.14          24°30.72       1460
       NIOZ-DS4          68°01.38          24°50.94       1300
       WHOI-DS6          68°09.18          25°07.56        900
       UIB-KGA-11        68°12.36          25°14.04        550
       NIOZ-DS3          68°19.02          25°30.12        300
       HAFRO-HB3         67°08.79          21°18.68        233
       HAFRO-HB2         67°00.00          21°32.46        203
       HAFRO-HB1         66°53.77          21°24.70        142
       IFM-PIES          67°24.00          23°41.22        600

US Coast Guard Cutter Alexander Hamilton found by Icelandic Coast Guard with the aid of a Gavia Autonomous Underwater Vehicle.

Press release.

Visit of the Danish Minister for Defence to the Icelandic Coast Guard

March 20th, 2009

Sören Gade, Danish Minister for Defence, had a meeting this morning with Georg Larusson, the Director General of the Icelandic Coast Guard in the Coast Guards headquarters in Reykjavik. On the agenda was the co-operation between the Icelandic Coast Guard and Danish military authorities in accordance with the MOU between the Ministry of Justice in Iceland and the Ministry of Defence of Denmark signed on 11th January 2007.

Their discussion involved maritime security in the North Atlantic Ocean, joint exercises, EOD, Icelandic Coast Guard´s air divisions alert in connection with the Denmarks Air Policing program in Iceland, also future developments in the co operation. Both parties agreed on the importance of the co-operation, important changes are under way in the High North. The region´s energy resources are getting more accessible and at the same time new trans-arctic shipping routes are opening.

New opportunities and challenges require close cooperation in the area. The Defence Minister mentioned the possibility to involve the Icelandic Coast Guard in the marittime surveillance around Greenland and Faroe Islands after delivery of the new Dash – 8 aircraft this year. By the new aircraft the Coast Guard is much better equipped for Maritime Surveillance and Pollution Detection than before. The aircraft is of the same type as now being used by the Swedish Coast Guard and with the same equipment package. This new aircraft can be used for Maritime Surveillance and exchange of surveillance data in adjacent areas in addition to the existing surveillance data exchange.

Iceland and Denmark have for the last two years worked inside the North Atlantic Coast Guard Forum. Denmark took the Chairmanship of the NACGF after the formal establishment in Sweden in October 2007. Iceland took over the chairmanship in September 2008 and has to large extent continued the standards set by Denmark.

More about ICG can be found here Always Prepared