Icelandic Coast Guard Vessel Ooinn

Reykjavik, Iceland | C.1959

Photo Credit: Oksana Smolianinova

A 900-ton offshore patrol vessel in the Icelandic Coast Guard fleet, the ICGV Ooinn once monitored the waters around Iceland for more than half a century. Built in 1959, the ICGV Ooinn served as an active Coast Guard vessel until decommissioned in 2006.

The Icelandic Coast Guard provides coastal defense as well as maritime and aeronautical search and rescue. Its fleet consists of a number of ships of various sizes including vessels for patrolling and research as well as ships designed for aeronautical support.

All major vehicles in the Coast Guard are currently named after fabled beings found in Norse mythology. Ooinn is a Norse god associated with wisdom, healing, death, and royalty.

While commissioned, the Ooinn was responsible for monitoring Icelandic and foreign vessels in addition to patrolling territorial fishing grounds. The ship had to determine who was fishing in certain locations and the type of fishing equipment used. During its tenure, it also proved to be a capable rescue vessel, pulling ships that had run aground, rescuing stranded crews, and even saving crews from sinking ships.

During the 1970s, the Ooinn was called up to serve in the Cod Wars – a series of conflicts between Iceland and the United Kingdom over fishing rights in the North Atlantic. During one of the confrontations, the Ooinn was rammed in the stern by the British sidewinder trawler, the Arctic Corsair. Nevertheless, Iceland emerged victorious during each dispute.

The Ooinn and the Arctic Corsair crossed waters again forty years later, but this time under much friendlier circumstances. In 2017, the two ships exchanged bells as a gesture of cooperation. Now a museum ship at Reykjavik’s Maritime Museum, the Ooinn is a main exhibition where guests can enjoy guided tours.

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