Fishing Minister Defends Faroese Snub, Other Icelanders Offer Cake

Fishing Minister Defends Faroese Snub, Other Icelanders Offer Cake

Published August 31, 2014

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
Juli Vol

The Faroese fishing vessel Næraberg may have been snubbed by authorities, but other Icelanders are helping the beleagured ship in any way they can.

RÚV reports that Minister of Fisheries Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson has called the treatment of the Faroese mackerel fishing vessel Næraberg to be based on “a misunderstanding” on why the snub occurred.

As reported, the ship, whose engine was badly in need of repair as it departed from Greenland for home, called upon Icelandic authorities to dock and conduct repairs. However, the crew were informed they could dock in Reykjavík Harbour, but would not be permitted to disembark, nor would they receive oil, food or even drinking water.

“The Faroese have an agreement with the Norwegians and the EU about mackerel fishing,” the Minister explained. “The agreement means in practice that we cannot receive certain kinds of service from the Faroese, and the same of course applies to the Faroese regarding us while we’re outside this agreement. There is no dispute between our countries; it’s just the way it is.”

Official reasons are not good enough for the over 12,000 Icelanders who have so far Liked the Facebook group Faroese: We Apologise.

Vísir reports that group co-founder Valdís Steinarsdóttir and Pirate Party MP Helgi Hrafn Gunnarsson paid a visit to the ship bearing gifts: cake, candy, soda and other foodstuffs. The group is also collecting donations and raising funds to help bring more to the crew.

“The Faroese have always stood behind us in times of need, such as after the avalanches at Súðavík and Flateyri,” Rakel Sigurgeirsdóttir, another co-founder of the group, told Vísir. “When the economic collapse happened, the Faroese were again very generous. We are appalled by how these people have been treated, and we don’t want the Faroese to come away from this with the idea that we are ungrateful and greedy, which is the impression this kind of treatment gives.”

Harbour Master Gísli Gíslason was also displeased with the official response, and believes it reflects poorly on Icelandic authorities.

“This response and the treatment of the ship was poorly thought out, and may have greater consequences than at first appears,” he told reporters. “This should teach a lesson to be careful about how we treat our neighbours.”

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