Will move water to Westman Islands if necessary

Reynisson says that the watertanks in the Westman Islands will …

Reynisson says that the watertanks in the Westman Islands will be able to serve the residents water at least for a few days if the waterpipe breaks down altogether. Composite image/Árni Sæberg/Eggert Jóhannesson

Víðir Reynisson, Director of Civil Protection, says that the need to evacuate the Westman Islands is not being considered, although the Civil Protection has declared a critical phase. Rather, water will be transferred to the islands if the water supply is exhausted.

“It would be a lot of work, but it’s not impossible,” Reynisson tells us.

The National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police, in agreement with the Commissioner of the Westman Islands, declared a crisis-level yesterday morning due to extensive damage to the water pipe for fresh water to the island. The water pipe was damaged on Friday evening, November 17, and now extensive damage has been discovered. The water pipe has still has full capacity but is subject to further damage from the sea due to it losing its protective layer when Huginn VE sailed into the harbour and the skip’s anchor was unloaded accidentally and caught on the water pipe.

Huginn VE was on its way back to the Westman …

Huginn VE was on its way back to the Westman Islands after fishing last Friday night when the anchor broke loose and hooked into the water pipe running from land to the Westman Islands. mbl.is/Óskar Pétur Friðriksson

Have all the estimates of water usage in place

Víðir says that the civil protection officials know how much water is needed to keep life as usual in the Westman Islands, that is to say how much households and companies combined need to keep everything running as usual.

Civil protection also knows what it takes to just keep homeowners in operation in the islands and what it takes to ensure that no emergency situations arise.

This is how these three scenarios are now being worked out.

Try to ensure no further damage to the water pipe

There are backup watertanks in the Westman Islands, which have enough water to keep the community safe for a few days, he says.

The water pipe is badly damaged although it is currently working. It looks like it cannot be repaired and therefore a new water pipe must be constructed.

This can only happen in the summer. This way, the situation can be expected to last until next spring or summer. Reynisson says that everything will be done to ensure that the water supply doesn’t deteriorate any more.

With the largest fisheries in Iceland operating from the Westman Islands, he says that the water use of the fisheries is high, especially during the winter. He says that he understands the concerns of the owners of the fisheries, but reiterates that everything will be done to ensure that the Westman Islands can maintain a normal life and working conditions.

Sigurgeir Brynjar Kristgeirsson is the CEO of Vinnslustöðin VSV. He …

Sigurgeir Brynjar Kristgeirsson is the CEO of Vinnslustöðin VSV. He worries about the water situation now when winter is upon the islanders. mbl.is/Óskar Pétur Friðriksson

Agreement on retirement

Vinnslustöðin (VSV) has negotiated a retirement agreement with two captains at the company who took turns helming Huginn VE, a fishing vessel belonging to VSV.

This is confirmed by Sig­ur­geir Brynj­ar Krist­geir­sson, CEO of Vinnslu­stöðin. He says­ that he doesn’t want to comment on the reason for the retirement agreement. He claims, however, that there will be changes within the company’s structure as a result.

The captains in question are Guðmundur Ingi Guðmundsson and Gylfi Viðar Guðmundsson.

The retirement comes after a massive damage to the water pipe to the Westman Islands on Friday night, November 18. The damage occurred when the boat’s anchor was unloaded and the boat was caught in the water pipe.

Is worried about winter

The anchor had to be cut off and it is still lying on the ocean floor.

The Investigation Committee of Transport Accidents is investigating the matter, but due to the damage that occurred on the water pipe, the risk level has been raised in the Westman Islands. The damage is so great that it is not enough to repair the water pipe temporarily and a new pipe has to be laid.

Kristgeirsson says he is worried about how winter will be, considering the damage to the damage to the water pipe. This could affect the operation of their fisheries plant.

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