Icelandic Coast Guard

The Icelandic Coast Guard (Icelandic: Landhelgisgæsla Íslands, Landhelgisgæslan or simply Gæslan) is the service responsible for Iceland's coastal defence and maritime and aeronautical search and rescue. Its origins can be traced to 1859, when the corvette Ørnen started patrolling Icelandic waters. In 1906, Iceland's first purposely built guard-ship, Islands Falk, began operation. Iceland's own defense of its territorial waters began around 1920 and the Icelandic Coast Guard was formally founded on 1 July 1926. The first cannon was put on the trawler Thor in 1924 and on 23 June 1926 the first ship built for the Coast Guard, named Óðinn, arrived in Iceland. Three years later, on 14 July 1929 the coastal defence ship Ægir was added to the Coast Guard fleet.

The Icelandic Coast Guard played its largest role during the Cod Wars between 1972 and 1975, when the Coast Guard ships would cut the trawl wires of British and West German trawlers and engaged in confrontations with Royal Navy warships, in order to enforce a disputed expansion of Iceland's exclusive economic zone.

The Coast Guard also maintains the Iceland Air Defence System which conducts ground surveillance of Iceland's air space.[5][6]

The Icelandic Coast Guard is responsible for hydrographic surveying and nautical charting.

Icelandic Coast Guard
Landhelgisgæsla Íslands
LHG skjöldur opinber 2005
Icelandic Coast Guard insignia
Country Iceland
RoleNational Defence, Law enforcement, Maritime and Aviation Search and Rescue, Counter Terrorism, Minesweeping, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Hydrographic Service and other tasks.[1][2][3][4]
Size3 x Patrol vessels
1 x Fixed wing aircraft
3 x Helicopters
2 x Patrol/survey boat
200 x Officers and men
Nickname(s)Gæslan (The Guard)
Motto(s)"Við erum til taks" ("Always Prepared")
EngagementsWorld War II
Cod Wars
Iraq War
General DirectorRADM Georg Kr. Lárusson
Chief of OperationsCDRE Ásgrímur L. Ásgrímsson
Chief of Maritime DivisionCAPT Auðunn F Kristinsson
Chief of Aeronautical DivisionCDR sg Sindri Steingrímsson
Chief of Defence DivisionCAPT Jón B Guðnason
Naval ensign
Flag of Iceland (state)
Racing stripe
Icelandic Coast Guard racing stripe
Aircraft flown
Patrol1 Bombardier DHC-8-Q314
Transport3 Aérospatiale AS-332L1 Super Puma


10 Arrival of Thor - Icelandic Coast Guard 2011-10-27 Reykjavik
From left to right: Captain of Thor Cdr. s.g. Sigurður Steinar Ketilsson, Director of the Icelandic Coast Guard R.Adm. Georg Kr. Lárusson, President of Iceland Mr. Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, and former Minister of the Interior Ögmundur Jónasson.

The Icelandic Coast Guard's (ICG) primary mission is the defending the Icelandic sovereignty, integrity of the territorial waters, maintaining Icelandic law and order inside the 200-nautical-mile (370 km; 230 mi)-wide economic zone as well as other vital missions such as Search and Rescue. The Coast Guard operates JRCC-Iceland which is responsible for search and rescue of vessels and aircraft in Iceland's search and rescue region (SRR) according to International Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue (IAMSAR) Manual. Additionally the ICG is in the charge of defusing naval mines, most of which were laid during the Second World War, and monitoring fisheries in international waters outside of the Icelandic Economic zone in order to blacklist any vessel partaking in unregulated fishing and thus bar them from receiving services from any member of the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission[7] in order to make unregulated fishing unprofitable. The Icelandic Coast Guard also occasionally operates within Greenlandic and Faeroese waters, following a bilateral agreement with Denmark regarding mutual aid in security, rescue and defence matters.

The Coast Guard accomplishes these tasks with the use of offshore patrol vessels (OPV), helicopters, surveillance aircraft, satellites and a network of land based surface scanning radar.

The Icelandic Coast Guard is also in charge of the Iceland Air Defence System, which operates four ground-based AN-FPS(V)5 air surveillance radars and a control and command centre.

In the 1990s the Coast Guard started hosting exercises such as "Northern Challenge" which had military units from Norway, Denmark, Sweden and the United Kingdom, among others, participating along with the Icelandic Coast Guard. The Coast Guard has also taken part in peacekeeping operations on behalf of the Icelandic Crisis Response Unit, although while usually using their own rank insignia, uniforms and weapons.

The fleet also takes part in Frontex operations, and in that role ICGV Týr played a major part in the rescue of over 300 Syrian refugees in the eastern Mediterranean Sea in January 2015.[8]


Currently the Icelandic Coast Guard fleet consists of three OPVs, one coastal hydrographic and patrol vessel and an independent fast rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RHIB), as well as numerous smaller boats assigned to the larger units. In 2011 the Coast Guard received ICGV Thor, built by the Asmar shipyard in Talcahuano, Chile.[9][10]

ICGV Týr, an Ægir-class offshore patrol vessel, the second youngest, built by Århus Flydedok a/s and launched in 1975. ICGV Ægir, lead ship of the Ægir class, is ICGV Týr's sister ship, built by Ålborg Værft a/s and launched in 1968. Each ship is equipped with two or more RHIBs of various sizes and armed with a 40 mm Bofors cannon. Various kinds of small arms as well as other man portable weapons are also carried onboard each of the ships. Týr and Thor are also equipped with sonar systems and the Ægir-class vessels have flight decks and a hangar for a small helicopter. While the Coast Guard currently doesn't operate small enough helicopters to use the hangars, the flight decks are often used by the helicopters of the Aeronautical Division on various missions.

The coastguard has as well a 73-ton patrol and hydrographic survey vessel, named Baldur, built by Vélsmiðja Seyðisfjarðar shipyard in 1991. This vessel has no mounted weaponry but it has nonetheless been used for port security and fishery inspection.

Aeronautical division

The Coast Guard's Aeronautical Division was founded on 10 December 1955 when a Consolidated PBY-6A Catalina flying boat was acquired. It was originally from the Iceland Defense Force but was damaged near Langanes in 1954. It was registered as TF-RAN and nicknamed Rán.

Currently the Icelandic Coast Guard operates three Aerospatiale AS-332L1 Super Puma helicopters, which are registered as TF-LIF, TF-SYN and TF-GNA. As a response to the withdrawal of the Iceland Defense Force in 2006 the Coast Guard operated four helicopters, including leased Aérospatiale SA-365N-1 Dauphin 2 TF-EIR, but this number has since been reduced to the three Super Pumas as of 2015.

The Coast Guard also operates a single Bombardier DHC-8-Q314, registered as TF-SIF, modified for maritime surveillance and reconnaissance. This plane has been extensively modified by FIELD to carry a modern Mission Management System and suite of surveillance sensors, air operable door and communications/navigation equipment. It is occasionally also used for surveillance of volcanic eruptions, e.g. of Eyjafjallajökull in 2010.

Unlike the fleet, aircraft of the Icelandic Coast Guard have standard Icelandic civilian registers, as the Althing (parliament) has never agreed on laws for military or government aircraft. Over the time since the division was formed the regulations for standard civilian aircraft have become more restrictive. As a result, the Coast Guard can no longer operate military aircraft like it did in the past. Nevertheless, current helicopters are outfitted with latest generation U.S. night vision equipment, reserved for U.S. armed forces and the armies of their allies and thus the only civilian registered aircraft in the world, so equipped.

Ships and aircraft

All major vehicles of the Icelandic Coast Guard are currently named after beings from Norse mythology.

Currently operated vessels

Ship name Type Class Note Photo
ICGV Thor Offshore patrol vessel UT 512L Type Chilean-built UT 512L Type (enlarged UT 512 Type) offshore patrol vessel commissioned in late 2011 and the flagship of the service. Named after Thor, the god of thunder, lighting and troll slaying. 2 Arrival of Thor - Icelandic Coast Guard 2011-10-27 Reykjavik
ICGV Týr Offshore patrol vessel Ægir class Danish-built Ægir-class offshore patrol vessel named after Týr, the god of combat and heroism. ICG vessel types
ICGV Ægir Offshore patrol vessel Ægir class Danish-built Ægir-class offshore patrol vessel named after Ægir, the king of the sea.
ICGV Baldur Hydrographic survey and patrol vessel Baldur class Icelandic-built Baldur-class hydrographic survey and patrol vessel named after Baldur, god of beauty and more. Icelandic coast guard ships in harbour (cropped)

Currently operated aircraft/helicopters

Landhelgisgaeslan Helicopter Iceland
Helicopter TF-LIF, an AS 332L1 Super Puma[11]

Currently operated leased aircraft

  • TF-GNA and TF-SYN are Eurocopter AS 332L1 Super Pumas on long-term lease from Airlift AS of Norway and were brought into service to augment the Coast Guard-owned TF-LIF.

Decommissioned vessels

  • ICGV Óðinn (I)
  • ICGV Gautur, originally named Óðinn (II) but renamed when a new Óðinn (III) arrived, Gautur is one of Óðinn's pseudonyms.
  • ICGV Óðinn (III) an offshore Patrol Vessel named after Óðinn the all-seeing father of the gods.
  • ICGV Baldur (I), a fast patrol boat used for less than a year and returned because of bad characteristics in rough seas.
  • ICGV Baldur (II), an armed trawler.
  • ICGV Bragi, named after Bragi the god of poetry. A fast patrol boat used for less than a year and returned because of bad characteristics in rough seas.
  • ICGV Njörður, named after Njörðr the god of wind, fertile land along the seacoast, as well as seamanship, sailing and fishing. A fast patrol boat used for less than a year and returned because of bad characteristics in rough seas.
  • ICGV Týr (I), a whaler (Hvalur 9) borrowed during the second Cod War usually called Hval-Týr.
  • ICGV Thor (I)
  • ICGV Thor (II)
  • ICGV Ægir (I)
  • ICGV Albert, patrol and rescue vessel. Joint ownership by the ICG and the National Life-saving Association of Iceland, now ICE-SAR. Operated by the ICG. Decommissioned in the mid 1970s.
  • ICGV Árvakur, a lighthouse tender and patrol ship decommissioned in the 1980s.
  • ICGV María Júlía, patrol and rescue vessel, named after one of those who financed her construction. Joint ownership by the ICG and the National Life-saving Association of Iceland. Operated by the ICG. Decommissioned in the late 1960s.
  • ICGV Sæbjörg, a patrol and rescue ship owned by the National Life-saving Association of Iceland but operated by the ICG. Decommissioned in the mid 1960s.
  • ICGV Ver, an armed trawler. Operated by the ICG in the last Cod War in 1975-1976.

In addition the Coast Guard has rented or borrowed a number of civilian vessels and aircraft for shorter periods, which are not listed.

De-commissioned aircraft

AS-365N Dauphin 2 of The Iceland Coast Guard.JPEG
Former Icelandic Coast Guard helicopter


Iceland Air Defense System radar stations
Orange pog.svg Radar station with AN/FPS-117(V)5
Lightgreen pog.svg Control and Reporting Centre

The Iceland Air Defense System monitors Iceland's airspace. Air Defense is provided by fighter jets from NATO allies, which rotate units for the Icelandic Air Policing mission to Keflavik Air Base. The Iceland Air Defense System's Control and Reporting Centre is at Keflavik Air Base and reports to NATO's Integrated Air Defense System CAOC Uedem in Germany.


The Icelandic Coast Guard possess 207 firearms, 111 of which are in storage.[14][15][16]

Currently in use

Model Image Calibre Type Origin Quantity Details
Bofors 40 mm L/70 Bofors 40mm L70 gun aboard the Frigate ROCN Si Ning (PFG-1203) 20150316b 40mm Autocannon  Sweden 4 Purchased from Norway and refurbished.
Bofors 40 mm L/60 40mm-twin-naval 40mm Autocannon  Sweden 4 Model year 1936. Gift from Denmark.
Glock 17 Glock 17 MOD 45154998 9mm Pistol  Austria 20 Model years 1990, 2006 and 2012. Bought from a dealership in Reykjavík.
H&K MP5 MP5 9mm Submachine gun  West Germany
50 Model year 1990. Gift from Norway 2011.
Rheinmetall MG 3 BundeswehrMG3 7.62mm General-purpose machine gun  West Germany
10 Model year 1990. Gift from Norway 2013.
Steyr SSG 69 Steyr SSG 69 7.62mm Sniper rifle  Austria 8 Model year 1989. Bought from a dealership in Reykjavík.

Currently in storage

Model Image Calibre Type Origin Quantity Details
Browning M2 M2 Browning, Musée de l'Armée .50 BMG Heavy machine gun  United States 3 Model year 1939. Came with a seaplane which the ICG had in operation.
H&K G3 DCB Shooting G3 pictures 7.62mm Battle rifle  West Germany 20 Model year 1959. Gift from Denmark 2006.
Cannon 37 mm N/A 37mm Cannon N/A 3 Model year 1898. Gift from Denmark.
Cannon 47 mm N/A 47mm Cannon N/A 3 Model year 1909. Gift from Denmark.
Cannon 57 mm N/A 57mm Cannon N/A 5 Model year 1892. Gift from Denmark.
M1 carbine M1 Carbine Mk I - USA - Armémuseum 7.62mm Carbine  United States 30 Model year 1940. Lent to the Reykjavík Police 1986.
M2 carbine M2 Carbine SPAR1288 FEB. 17. 2005 7.62mm Carbine  United States 20 Model year 1940. Lent to the Reykjavík Police 1986.
QF 3-pounder Hotchkiss Flickr - El coleccionista de instantes - Fotos La Fragata A.R.A. "Libertad" de la armada argentina en Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (28) 47mm Cannon  France 1 Model year 1912. At a museum in Ísafjörður.
Remington Model 870 Remington 870 Wmaster 12-gauge Shotgun  United States 4 Model year 2000. Bought from a dealership in Reykjavík.
SMLE Lee-Enfield Short Magazine Lee-Enfield Mk 1 (1903) - UK - cal 303 British - Armémuseum .303 Bolt-action Repeating rifle  United Kingdom 10 Model year 1910. Unknown origin.
S&W .38 Police Special Smith and Wesson Regulation Police .38 S&W .38 Special Pistol  United States 12 Model year 1940. Marshall aid.



NATO code OF-10 OF-9 OF-8 OF-7 OF-6 OF-5 OF-4 OF-3 OF-2 OF-1 OF(D) Student officer
Iceland Iceland
No equivalent
Generic-Navy-O9.svg Generic-Navy-O8.svg Generic-Navy-O7.svg Generic-Navy-O6.svg Generic-Navy-O5.svg Generic-Navy-O4.svg Generic-Navy-O3.svg Generic-Navy-O2.svg Generic-Navy-O1.svg No equivalent
Rear Admiral
General Director
Chief of Operations
Deputy Chief of Operations, head of divisions
Commander sg.
1° CO of department, vessel or aircraft
2° CO of department, vessel or aircraft
Lieutenant Commander
Commanding Officer
(after 6 years of service)
Lieutenant jg.
(after 2 years of service)
(first 2 years of service)


NATO Code OR-9 OR-8 OR-7 OR-6 OR-5 OR-4 OR-3 OR-2 OR-1
Iceland Iceland
Iceland-Navy-OR-9.svg No equivalent Iceland-Navy-OR-7.svg No equivalent Iceland-Navy-OR-5.svg No equivalent Iceland-Navy-OR-3.svg Iceland-Navy-OR-2b.svg Iceland-Navy-OR-2a.svg Iceland-Navy-OR-1.svg
Petty officer/specialist
(after 12 years service)
Petty officer/specialist
(after 6 years service)
Petty officer/specialist Enlisted
(after 6 years service)
(after 3 years service)
(after 1 year service)

See also


  1. ^ "2006 nr. 52 14. jn/ Lg um Landhelgisgslu slands. ingskjal 1520, 132. lggjafaring 694. ml: #A Landhelgisgsla slands # (heildarlg)". Retrieved 14 December 2014.
  2. ^ Landhelgisgæsla íslands
  3. ^ Landhelgisgæsluáætlun 2008 - 2010
  4. ^ Varnarmálastofnun Íslands Archived 20 November 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 20 April 2009. Retrieved 30 January 2007.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "NATO Air Policing". Retrieved 14 December 2014.
  7. ^ "North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission". Retrieved 14 December 2014.
  8. ^ USA Today-Arizona RepublicJan 4, 2015, Section B page2
  9. ^ "Til hamingju með daginn! Þór kominn til Íslands". Retrieved 14 December 2014.
  10. ^ "Nýtt varðskip Þór". Retrieved 14 December 2014.
  11. ^ "TF-LIF". Retrieved 14 December 2014.
  12. ^ "All Articles".
  13. ^ "Iceland Air Defense System". Icelandic Coast Guard. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  14. ^ "Landhelgisgæslan á 212 vopn - Vísir".
  15. ^ "869/144 svar: vopnaöflun og vopnaeign Landhelgisgæslunnar". Alþingi.
  16. ^ "Fallbyssur á Sæbraut: Vegfarendur ráku upp stór augu - DV".

External links

1926 in Iceland

The following lists events that happened in 1926 in Iceland.

Aegir (disambiguation)

Ægir (also Æger) is a figure in Norse mythology.

Aegir, AEgir, Ægir or Æger may also refer to:

Aegir (moon), a moon of Saturn

Ægir (planet) or epsilon Eridani b, an exoplanet

Aegir, another name for a tidal bore

Trent Aegir, the tidal bore on the River Trent

G.S.R. Aegir, a student rowing club in Groningen, the Netherlands

Aegir, the name of a member of the Asgard race in the science fiction TV show Stargate

DCV Aegir, a 2013 large offshore construction vessel being built for Heerema Marine Contractors

Aegir-class submarine tender, a former class of ships in the US Navy

USS Aegir (AS-23), a 1943 former US submarine tender


SMS Ägir

Aegir Ridge, an extinct mid-ocean ridge in the far-northern Atlantic Ocean

Ægir-class offshore patrol vessel, a class serving the Icelandic Coast Guard

Aegir, another name for aegirine, a type of silicate mineral

HNoMS Æger, name of several ships in the Royal Norwegian Navy

Aeger, a genus of fossil shrimp

AEGIR Marine, a Marine Survey company in Sydney, Australia.

Björn Bjarnason

Björn Bjarnason (born 14 November 1944) is an Icelandic politician. His father was Bjarni Benediktsson, Prime Minister of Iceland, Minister of Justice and Ecclesiastical Affairs and Mayor of Reykjavík.

Matriculating from Reykjavík Junior College in 1964 and graduating in Law (cand. jur.) from the University of Iceland in 1971, Björn was active in student politics and after graduation worked as a publishing director of Almenna bókafélagið from 1971 to 1974. As foreign news editor he worked at daily Vísir in 1974, as Deputy Secretary General in the Prime Minister's office from 1974 to 1975.

Björn also served in the Icelandic Coast Guard in the 1960s.Björn worked in the Prime Minister's Office from 1975 to 1979, as a journalist on Icelandic daily Morgunblaðið from 1979 to 1984 and as deputy editor of Morgunblaðið from 1984 to 1991. Björn attended the Bilderberg Group conference 11 times (in 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993 and 1995).

Björn was elected to the Althing in 1991 for the Independence Party, for the constituency of Reykjavík. On 23 April 1995 he became Minister for Education, serving until 2002. In 2002, he led the unsuccessful attempt of the Independence Party to win elections to Reykjavík city council. From 2003 to 2009, he was the Minister for Justice and Ecclesiastical Affairs.

He is also the first Icelandic politician to keep his own website, which he started on 19 February 1995 and thus makes him one of the Internet's earliest bloggers.

Cod Wars

The Cod Wars (Icelandic: Þorskastríðin, "the cod wars", or Landhelgisstríðin, "the wars for the territorial waters") were a series of confrontations between the United Kingdom and Iceland on fishing rights in the North Atlantic. Each of the disputes ended with an Icelandic victory. The Third Cod War concluded in 1976, with a highly favourable agreement for Iceland; the United Kingdom conceded to a 200-nautical-mile (370-kilometre) Icelandic exclusive fishery zone after threats that Iceland would withdraw from NATO, which would have forfeited NATO's access to most of the GIUK gap, a critical anti-submarine warfare chokepoint during the Cold War.

As a result, British fishing communities lost access to rich areas and were devastated, with thousands of jobs lost. Since 1982, a 200-nautical-mile (370-kilometre) exclusive economic zone has been the United Nations standard.

The term "cod war" was coined by a British journalist in early September 1958. None of the Cod Wars met any of the common thresholds for a conventional war, and they may more accurately be described as militarised interstate disputes. There is only one confirmed death during the Cod Wars: an Icelandic engineer, who was accidentally killed in the Second Cod War while he was repairing damage on the Icelandic gunboat Ægir after a collision with the British frigate Apollo. They collided again, on 29 August 1973.Several explanations for the Cod Wars have been put forward. Recent studies have focused on the underlying economic, legal and strategic drivers for Iceland and the United Kingdom, as well as the domestic and international factors that contributed to the escalation of the dispute. Lessons drawn from the Cod Wars have been applied to international relations theory.

Guðmundur Kjærnested

Cdr. Guðmundur Kjærnested was born Guðmundur Hjaltason Halldórsson Kjærnested in Hafnarfjörður, Iceland on 29 June 1923. Guðmundur was a commander in the Icelandic Coast Guard and took part in all three Anglo-Icelandic Cod Wars; he is most famous for being the commander of ICGV Týr and for his achievements while protecting disputed changes to Icelandic territorial waters from the Royal Navy and British trawlers during the Cod Wars. Guðmundur died on 2 September 2005. He is regarded as a national hero and a true patriot in Iceland.

Hvalur 9 RE399

Hvalur 9 RE399 is an Icelandic whaling ship built in 1952 in Norway. It has been a part of the Icelandic whaling fleet operated and owned by the company Hvalur HF since 1966.

In 1973 she was requisitioned by the Icelandic Coast Guard, repainted, renamed Týr and armed with a 57 mm gun and subsequently used to cut the fishing gear from foreign fishing vessels fishing illegally (according to Icelandic law) in a newly claimed fishery zone during the Second Cod War. During her service in the Coast Guard she was usually nicknamed Hval-Týr to differentiate from previously commissioned patrol vessels of the same name.

Between 1987 and 2006, while commercial whaling ceased in Iceland, the ship remained unused at pier but the recommencement of whaling in Iceland brought it back into action.


ICGV Týr is an Ægir-class offshore patrol vessel and the flagship of the Icelandic Coast Guard. The ship was built by Aarhus Flydedok, in Denmark.

Týr is the second largest ship in the Icelandic Coast Guard and participated in the last Cod War. On 28 December 1975, Týr rammed HMS Andromeda, which was escorting two fishing trawlers at the time. In May 1976 she survived being rammed twice by HMS Falmouth, which led Captain Guðmundur Kjærnested to give the order to man the guns against the much more powerful warship to deter further rammings.

Týr was originally armed with a manually loaded 57 mm M1898 Hotchkiss cannon which was replaced in 1990 with the current Bofors 40 mm cannon. In 1994 a large crane was added on the starboard side of the flight deck and in 1997 the flight deck was extended. In 2001, the ship was sent to Poland for modification and received a second rudder. In 2006 she was sent to Poland again for replacement of her bridge and other renovations.

The Icelandic Coast Guard fleet takes part in Frontex operations, and in that role Týr played a major part in the rescue of over 300 Syrian refugees in the eastern Mediterranean Sea in January 2015. On 11 June 2015, Týr was rammed and damaged by Kruzenshtern at Reykjavík.


ICGV Ægir is an Offshore Patrol vessel of the Icelandic Coast Guard built by Aalborg Værft, in Denmark. She is the first ship of the Ægir class and is the sistership of the slightly improved ICGV Týr.

She participated in the two last Cod Wars.

In 1990 the original 57mm cannon was replaced with the current Bofors 40 mm gun and a large crane was added in 1994. The flight deck was enlarged in 1997 and in 2005 she was refitted in Poland with a new bridge and improved electronics suite.

ICGV Óðinn

ICGV Óðinn is a decommissioned offshore patrol vessel formerly operated by the Icelandic Coast Guard. She is the oldest ship in the coastguard's fleet, and it is believed that her Burmeister & Wain engines are the only such engines that are still serviceable in the world today. Since her withdrawal from active duty, she has served as a floating exhibit at the Vikin Maritime Museum in Reykjavík Harbour. The engines are maintained, and still operative as of June 2011.


ICGV Þór (Thor) is an UT 512L type offshore patrol vessel designed by Rolls Royce for the Icelandic Coast Guard, built to replace the aging ICGV Óðinn. The construction of the ship was approved by the Icelandic government on 4 March 2005. Construction of the ship began at the ASMAR Naval Shipyard in Talcahuano, Chile on 16 October 2007. Construction was delayed by over a year due to the 2010 Chilean earthquake, but damage to the structure of the ship was not as detrimental as had been expected. After repairs, the ICGV Þór was delivered to ICG personnel on 23 September 2011 in Chile. She arrived in Reykjavík on 27 October 2011. Its main tasks are EEZ patrol, fishery inspection and search and rescue support. The ship is named after the Norse god Thor.

Iceland Air Defence System

The Iceland Air Defence System (Icelandic: Íslenska Loftvarnarkerfið) is a part of the Icelandic Coast Guard. It was founded in 1987 under the Office of Defence of the Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and between 2009-2011, it was a part of the Icelandic Defence Agency (Varnarmálastofnun Íslands). It operates four radar complexes, a software and support facility as well as a command and report centre. As of 2008, it does not independently possess any offensive capabilities, but is primarily used instead to monitor air traffic and direct allied interceptors based out of country.

According to the U.S. Department of State website (Office of Public Diplomacy, Iceland page, updated August 2008), the 2008 budget for the Government of Iceland is the first in the country's history to include funding for defence (US$8.2 million); the money is earmarked for support of cooperative defence activities, military exercises in Iceland, and maintenance of defence-related facilities. This funding is in addition to roughly US$12 million in new expenditures for the operation of the Iceland Air Defence System radar sites, which the United States handed over to Iceland on August 15, 2007. At the start of 2010 Iceland Air Defence reported having a force of 25 employees.

Iceland Crisis Response Unit

The Iceland Crisis Response Unit (ICRU) or Íslenska Friðargæslan, is an Icelandic para-military unit with a capacity roster of up to 200 people, of whom about 30 are active at any given time. It is operated by the Icelandic Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is primarily designated for peacekeeping operations and was established in the 1990s to participate in operations and peacekeeping projects, including in support of NATO peacekeeping operations. That role later evolved into providing an appropriate forum for deploying personnel within other organizations such as with OSCE field missions as well as with UN DPKO, and organizations such as UNIFEM, UNRWA and UNICEF.

The ICRU personnel has been deployed to the former territories of Yugoslavia, Kosovo and Afghanistan through NATO missions and UNIFEM and to the Middle East and North Africa with UNICEF, UNRWA and UNHCR. It had a civilian observer mission in Sri Lanka in co-operation with Norway (previously a Nordic mission) and has explosive ordnance disposal personnel from the Icelandic Coast Guard to Lebanon and Iraq.

Iceland deployed its first peacekeepers in 1950, when two Icelandic police officers were sent to Palestine as a part of an UN peacekeeping operation. Though many Icelandic specialists have taken part in various peacekeeping operations since, mostly within the UN and its organizations but also within NATO, it was not until the 1990s that organized participation in peacekeeping operations was initiated, formalized with the establishment of the ICRU in 2001.

In 2008, a portion of uniformed ICRU deployed personnel still armed for self-defense returned their weapons and changed to civilian clothing. The policy since 2008, is that, unless under special circumstances, ICRU personnel do not wear uniforms or carry weapons.

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Iceland oversees the roster and deployment of personnel,

Icelandic Police

The Police (Icelandic: Lögregla, lit. 'Law Order') is responsible for law enforcement throughout the country, except in Icelandic territorial waters which fall under the jurisdiction of the Icelandic Coast Guard. Police affairs in Iceland are the responsibility of the Ministry of the Interior and are administered by the Office of the National Commissioner of the Police (Embætti ríkislögreglustjóra) on behalf of the ministry. The organisation is divided into nine districts, the largest being the Reykjavík Metropolitan Police (Lögreglan á höfuðborgarsvæðinu), which is responsible for the Capital Region and its total population of around 208,000 people.

Icelandic Prison Service

The Icelandic Prison Service (Icelandic: Fangelsismálastofnun ríkisins) is the national correctional agency of the Republic of Iceland. Along with the Icelandic National Police, Directorate of Customs, and the Icelandic Coast Guard, the Icelandic Prison Service is one of the few law-enforcement agencies in Iceland. The current director of the Prison Service is Páll Egill Winkel.

MV Vikartindur

MV Vikartindur was a German registered 8,633 ton container ship that became stranded on a beach on the south coast of Iceland on March 5, 1997, while en route from Tórshavn, the capital of the Faroe Islands, to Reykjavík.

She suffered engine failure at 1200 in stormy conditions and, although able to restart her main engine, she was not able to generate enough power to prevent the gale force winds from blowing her towards shore. Her anchor took hold 1.7 miles off the coast but its chain broke at 1900 and attempts by the V/s Ægir of the Icelandic Coast Guard to attach a towing line were unsuccessful in the heavy seas. The Vikartindur ran aground at 2100 at 63 degrees 43.9 minutes north, 20 degrees 52.4 minutes west at 2100 and the crew of 19 were rescued by a helicopter of the Icelandic Coast Guard. Once stranded the ship lay at an angle of 40 degrees and soon broke her back, precluding any attempt to refloat her. The ship was carrying 2,900 tons of cargo in containers.

The Vikartindur was broken up in situ on the beach using her own cranes. The work was completed in August 1997, six months after she was wrecked. She had been built in Stettin in Poland for Peter Dohle Schiffahrts-KG of Germany in 1996, the year before she was lost, and was chartered to the transportation company Eimskip, Reykjavík.

Military of Iceland

Iceland's defences consist of the Icelandic Coast Guard, which patrols Icelandic waters and airspace, and other services such as the National Commissioner's National Security and Special Forces Units.

Iceland is however the only NATO member which maintains no standing army.

The Coast Guard consists of three ships and four aircraft and armed with small arms, naval artillery, and Air Defence weaponry. The Coast Guard also maintains the Iceland Air Defence System, formerly part of the disestablished Defence Agency, which conducts surveillance from the ground of Iceland's air space.Units subordinated to the National Commissioner also take part in Iceland's defences. Foremost of these are the National Security Unit, which handles intelligence operations, and the special unit Víkingasveitin, a highly trained and equipped counter terrorism unit which is part of the National Police force.

Additionally there is a Crisis Response Unit (ICRU), operated by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, which is a small peacekeeping force that has been deployed internationally, since 2008. This unit also has an unarmed component.

There is a treaty with the United States, which until 2006 maintained the Naval Air Station Keflavik, regarding the defense of Iceland. The base, now operated by the Icelandic Coast Guard, has been regularly visited by the US military and other allied NATO members. In 2017 the United States announced its interest in renovating a hangar, in order to accommodate a Boeing P-8 Poseidon ASW aircraft at the air base.There are also agreements concerning military and other security operations with Norway, Denmark and other NATO countries.

Iceland holds the annual NATO exercises entitled Northern Viking. The most recent exercises were held in 2011, as well as the EOD exercise "Northern Challenge".

In 1997 Iceland hosted its first Partnership for Peace (PfP) exercise, "Cooperative Safeguard", which is the only multilateral PfP exercise so far in which Russia has participated. Another major PfP exercise was hosted in 2000. Iceland has also contributed ICRU peacekeepers to SFOR, KFOR and ISAF.

Net cutter (fisheries patrol)

Net cutters, or trawlwire cutters, were secret weapons employed by the Icelandic Coast Guard during the latter two Cod Wars to cut the trawling wires of foreign fishing trawlers working within the then newly claimed Exclusive Fisheries zones.

They were invented by Commander Pétur Sigurðsson, Director of the Coast Guard, with assistance from Friðrik Teitsson from the Icelandic lighthouse institution and Tómas Sigurðsson, who were both ironmongers. The invention was known as the trawlwire cutter, and was tested in 1958—but not used until 5 September 1972, after every Icelandic ship had been equipped with it.

Ægir-class offshore patrol vessel

The Ægir-class offshore patrol vessel is a class of two vessels serving in the Icelandic Coast Guard (ICG). They participated in the two latter Cod Wars.

The vessels conduct EEZ patrol, search and rescue, fishery inspections, general law enforcement and counter-terrorism operations in Icelandic waters and the waters of the surrounding territories, such as Greenland and Jan Mayen.

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