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Before sailing to Iceland know this

Emergency services in Iceland are ill equipped to deal with any emergency from a cruise liner in Icelandic waters. Keep this in mind when travelling here

Emergency services in Iceland are ill equipped to deal with any emergency from a cruise liner in Icelandic waters. Keep this in mind when travelling here

If you happen to be among the tens of thousands visiting parts of Iceland aboard a passenger liner or a cruise ship be very, very sure where the lifeboats and life jackets are located.

Team Total Iceland does not recommend this to scare you from coming. Far from it. The reason is simply that unlike most other places where ocean liners are making regular stops Iceland is far away in the middle of the ocean and there are next to NO capabilities to intervene if something bad happens. And as history shows, bad things do happen.

these will be wholly inadequate and powerless to rescue much of anything

Many outsiders believe things are fine and dandy in Iceland and praise the people for bringing about a better society after less than smart bankers and politicians practically brought the country to the brink of financial ruin a decade ago. Sadly, this is far from the truth and we could count hundreds of the guilty ones still calling the shots around these parts. Indeed, many of the prosperous bankers responsible for the crash are still having daily fun in the bank. They just moved from banking into tourism.

Another tiny evidence of how hard things are in spite of everything is that Iceland´s ONLY coast guard vessel of note, is busy saving people in the Mediterranean. The coast guard cannot afford to operate its vessel otherwise.

Sure, there is the one small rescue helicopter and for sure freelance rescue units all around the country. But these will be wholly inadequate and powerless to rescue much of anything if a serious accident were to happen in Icelandic waters. A cruise liner in trouble would be far beyond the means of those parties.

Thankfully, there has never been a serious problem yet. Cruise liners have only been coming regularly to Iceland for a few years and all has gone well. But it would be foolish to expect accidents never to happen. History shows us ample examples of that. Make sure you know the exits and the location of life saving equipment on board while on the way here. Then pray if something happens.


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