Icelandic Coast Guard Rescues Stranded Ship Due to Weather Conditions 

cargo ship salvage
Due to deteriorating weather conditions the decision was made to intervene to recue the stranded cargo ship (Photos by Guðmundur St. Valdimarsson courtesy of Icelandic Coast Guard)

Published Apr 21, 2023 12:23 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Icelandic Coast Guard salvaged the stranded cargo ship Wilson Skaw earlier today, April 21, three days after it grounded. The decision was made to intervene as the weather deteriorated off the north coast of Iceland. Previously, the Coast Guard reported it was standing by while the vessel’s owners Wilson Shipping of Norway arranged for the salvage of the vessel.

The 6,460 dwt, general cargo ship grounded on April 18 on the north coast of Norway on its way from Hvammstangi to Hólmavík. While the vessel, which was built in 1996 and is registered in Barbados, was in an exposed area, weather conditions were calm and the Coast Guard reported the vessel was in no immediate danger. An underwater survey revealed that approximately 165 feet of the 369-foot vessel were stuck on the bottom but there were no signs of an oil leak from the ship. The vessel was carrying a cargo consisting of 2,000 tons of salt and had 195 tons of oil aboard.

Sea conditions deteriorated overnight and pictures released by the Coast Guard show the waves washing over the deck of the cargo ship. The Coast Guard reports that the vessel was moving. There are reports that there was already some hull damage. While SMIT had been retained and was developing the salvage plan, the Coast Guard determined that it needed to act.



Towline was strung as weather conditions deteriorated in the area


"When the Coast Guard assesses that it is necessary to intervene in certain situations, it does so,” Ásgeir Erlendsson, a spokesperson for the Coast Guard told the local media. They said this morning it was deemed necessary and the operation was “done in good cooperation with the ship's owner. It was done as a result of the wind and wave height increasing."

A tow line was strung to the bow of the Wilson Skaw early this morning, April 21, and by 10 a.m. the Coast Guard reports the sea conditions had freed the ship and they were able to move the cargo ship. However, they were proceeding slowly reporting that there were additional underwater hazards in the area.

The Coast Guard vessel Freyja was heading to Steingrímsfjörður, a more sheltered area, where they were expecting better sea conditions. The plan was to conduct a further survey of the vessel and determine the next steps after it was successfully repositioned.


Icelandic Coast Guard vessel Freyja towed the cargo ship and guided it to a sheltered location