Search and Rescue (SAR)

The Icelandic Coast Guard (ICG)  is responsible for the coordination of all SAR operations within the Icelandic economic zone and the Icelandic Search and Rescue Region (SRR), Iceland's international area of responsibility according to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Iceland's SRR area is around 1.9 million square kilometres, which is more than twice as large as its economic zone.  

As part of this function, the ICG operates the Icelandic Joint Rescue Coordination Centre – JRCC Iceland, which is a combined centre and a single point of contact for all the ICG's activities.  There is a 24-hour watch in order to react to emergency calls as quickly as possible. 

At the centre all information on maritime traffic is collected and used jointly for Safety, Security, Fisheries Enforcement and general policing of the ocean. It is necessary for the ICG to maintain thorough information on the location of ships and boats.

It is often the case that many people and assets are involved in rescue operations, including helicopters, aircraft and ICG patrol vessels, foreign navies, coast guards, nearby ships, rescue teams, fire departments and police.

The Icelandic Coast Guard assets

ICG operates four vessels Thor, Tyr, Ægir and Baldur. A new and powerful vessel Thor was taken into service in October 2011. The Icelandic Coast Guard has also the vessel Baldur that is used for hydrographic surveying and surveillance during the summer time.

The Coast Guard also operates rescue helicopters and the maritime surveillance aircraft TF-SIF. The aircraft is able to operate from short airfields, and at maximum weights and with all civil reserve factors included, requires less than a 1,300 m (4,279 ft) runway for take-off and landing over standard (ISA) conditions. The primary objectives for the aircraft system are defined as: Environmental protection – combating and preventing pollution at sea. Protection against accidents – preventative surveillance and participation in rescue at sea. Transport supervision – marine traffic and safety at sea. Food policy – fishing control. Judicial system – police activity, including border controls for persons at sea. Tax, customs duty and other charges – customs check and border controls for goods at sea.

The ICG air assets


TF-SIF was arrived new in 2009. Used for search and rescue operations, patrol, ambulance and ice-patrol.


Aerospatiale Super Puma AS-332L1. Crew: 2 pilots, 1 rescueman, 1 hoist operator, 1 doctor. Passengers: Max 18.


Airbus Super Puma H225. Crew: 2 pilots, 1 rescueman, 1 hoist operator, 1 doctor. Passengers: Max 18.


Airbus Super Puma H225. Crew: 2 pilots, 1 rescueman, 1 hoist operator, 1 doctor. Passengers: Max 18.

The Coast Guard is responsible for Joint rescue operations on the ocean area around Iceland

The Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre “JRCC” at its headquarters in Reykjavík.

The centre is a combined;

  • Communication centre for the Coast Guard vehicles
  • “JRCC”
  • Fisheries/Vessel Monitoring Centre
  • Equipped with variety of equipment for communication including satellite stations.
  • Configured to be able to operate independent from domestic sources of power and communication.
  • A comprehensive computer network is used for communication, tracking, data collection and calculation of SAR areas.

SAR svaedi

The Icelandic Search and Rescue Region is demarcated by the following coordinates:

73° 00‘ N, 20°00‘ W

73° 00‘ N, 00° 00‘W

61° 00‘ N, 00° 00‘W

61° 00‘ N, 30°00‘ V

58° 30‘ N, 30°00‘W

58° 30‘ N, 43°00‘W

63° 30‘ N, 39°00‘W

70° 00‘ N, 20°00‘W

73° 00‘ N, 20°00‘W