The Icelandic Coast Guard was founded in 1926 and is a civilian law enforcement agency that is responsible for search and rescue, maritime safety and security surveillance, and law enforcement in the seas surrounding Iceland. The ICG's operations are based on gathering, analysing and distributing information in close cooperation with neighbouring countries in order to create a surface picture as accurate as possible at any given moment to ensure maritime safety and security.
The ICG's duties include protection against illegal activities such as illegal migration and illegal drug tracking, fisheries control and enforcement, pollution surveillance and response, natural resource and ecology protection, and salvage and rescue diving. The ICG operates the NATO Iceland Air Defence System and CRC Keflavík and is responsible for Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) in Iceland, hydrographic surveying and nautical charting. It also provides emergency medical transport, assistance to law enforcement on land, and civil protection.
Icelandic Coast Guard in the Arctic
In Nuuk in May 2011, the Ministers of the Arctic Council member states signed “the Agreement on Cooperation in Aeronautical and Maritime Search and Rescue (SAR) in the Arctic", as the first legally binding agreement negotiated under the auspices of the Arctic Council. In the Nuuk declaration, the ministers recognized “the important role of the Agreement on Cooperation on Aeronautical and Maritme Search and Rescue in the Arctic for safe transport and enhancing cooperation in assisting people in distress in the Arctic”.
The search and rescue area around Iceland is enormous, 1,8 million square kilometer and the Icelandic Coast Guard (ICG) is responsible for SAR operations within the area and calls for backup from other states if necessary due to extensity.
Education and training are immensely important for the Coast Guard's operations. Its employees participate in frequent exercises,both within the ICG and in collaboration with domestic and international partners, in order to be prepared for the signicant and varied responsibilities that fall under the Coast Guard's purview.
The Icelandic Coast Guard has been observing the development in the Arctic and participated in forming and leading a policy regarding maritime safety in cooperation with other coastal states in the North Atlantic. The goal has mainly been to coordinate and standardize their procedures and gather information on equipment and manpower available for rescue.
The ICG's duties include protection against illegal activities such as illegal migration and illegal drug tracking, fisheries control and enforcement, pollution surveillance and response, natural resource and ecology protection, and salvage and rescue diving.
In recent years, the ICG has undergone various changes to further enable the organization to be prepared for possible changes following increased shipping in the area, both cargo shipping and cruises. Equipment has been renewed and improved and international collaboration strengthened.
Further information about the Icelandic Coast Guard is on the web www.lhg.is/english
Name: Ásgrímur L. Ásgrímsson
Job title: Chief of Operations
Telephone: +354 545 2114 / +354 8602922