The harbour in Grindavík coming to life

Grindavík harbour.

Grindavík harbour. mbl.is/Kristinn Magnússon

It is expected that next week will bring all operations at Grindavík harbour back to life. “We need to start getting back home,” says Elvar Hreinsson, the managing director of Klafar hf. The company has been working on landing services for boats and trawlers from Grindavík for a long time, but since last November most of them have been landed in Hafnarfjörður. Occasionally, boats have come in with catch to Grindavík, but this is an exception.

“There has been a boat at every place at the harbour here in recent weeks,” Hafnarfjörður mayor Lúðvík Geirsson tells Morgunblaðið. “Boats and trawlers from most of the fishing companies in Grindavík have come in here and received service. The continuation of this is otherwise unclear, the companies don’t always have long-term notice of where boats will come in.”

Elvar Hreinsson, the managing director of Klafar hf.

Elvar Hreinsson, the managing director of Klafar hf. mbl.is/Sigurður Bogi

Gjögur hf. has been operating in Grindavík for a long time, and from there the company’s tugboats are operated; Áskell ÞH and Vörður ÞH. “We have been operating from Hafnarfjörður since November. The continuation is undecided, but now our boats are out. We are usually on sea for two or four days. I expect to land this weekend and then in Hafnarfjörður, but then we’ll see,” says Ingi Jóhann Guðmundsson, the shipowner.

The future is at stake

When Grindavík town was evacuated due to the danger, Klafar hf. moved all their equipment, cars and ten elevators to Hafnarfjörður, where the landing gang has about 20 people. “Now it’s all about getting the business back in Grindavík and getting the wheels rolling with much needed income into the town,” Elvar Hreinsson says.

“The fishing operations need to begin again and things need to return to normal. All the preconditions are for this and the future of the town is at stake. It seems clear that a volcanic eruption will not occur inside the town, as the construction of a defense wall, which will actually come in too late, takes into account. People here are completely aware of the risk and should decide for themselves whether they want to stay here.”

Sturla GK came back from fishing on Thursday with a …

Sturla GK came back from fishing on Thursday with a 27 ton catch. Photo/Sigurður Arnar Kristmundsson

First landing last Thursday

Before 10 am Thursday morning, the first landing of the year in Grindavík harbour was completed. It was the trawler Sturla GK, owned by Þorbjörn, which landed 27 tons of fish according to Sigurður Arnar Kristmundsson, the harbour manager of Grindavík harbour.

Sturla GK left Hafnarfjörður on January 2 and was fishing west of Sandgerði.

The catch is about 27 tons, which is divided into 11 tons of haddock, 10 tons of cod and the last 6 tons of mixed fish. Kristmundsson expects that some of the catch will go to the fish processing plant Þorbjörn in Grindavík and some will go to the fish market. Sturla GK did resume fishing that same night.

Landing fish in Grindavík

According to Kristmundsson, captain Birgir Laufdal and pilot Páll Árni are both inclined to land in Grindavík harbour as much as possible.

In addition, the cargo ship Vermland arrived in the harbor Thursday morning and unloaded about 30 tons of fish feed for the fishfarming company Benchmark Genetics.

“I was just excited to get some action in here. Hopefully, this is just the beginning of this,” he says.

He expects the activity to start growing again.

“Not to mention if we get a northern wind, I just expect all the ships to come here to land,” he concludes.

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