Iceland signs up to Arctic Coast Guard Forum
Iceland is one of the eight founding members of the new Arctic Coast Guard Forum, formally set up at a ceremony in New London, Connecticut (USA) last Friday.
According to the official blog of the US Coast Guard, “the Arctic Coast Guard Forum is an operationally-focused, consensus-based organization with the purpose of leveraging collective resources to foster safe, secure and environmentally responsible maritime activity in the Arctic”.
The signatories to the new cooperation agreement are Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States.
Cooperation of this sort has been discussed since 2012, but disputes regarding Russia’s involvement in Ukraine have delayed progress.
The increasing number of passenger cruise ships in the Arctic and the risk of pollution are considered to be the biggest threats currently facing the Arctic region.
“Iceland’s contribution could be valuable, given the work currently being put into setting up an international Arctic rescue station, to be located in Iceland,” says Head of the Icelandic Coast Guard, Georg Kr. Lárusson.
“Iceland boasts good facilities for conducting rescue operations and well-trained staff in the rescue services, the Icelandic Red Cross, the police, the Icelandic Coast Guard and various other institutions.”