The Icelandic Coast Guard (ICG) is a civilian law enforcement agency that is responsible for search and rescue, maritime safety and security surveillance, and law enforcement in the seas surrounding Iceland. The ICG's operations are based on gathering, analysing and distributing information in close cooperation with neighboring countries in order to create a surface picture as accurate as possible at any given moment to ensure maritime safety and security.
The ICG's duties include protection against illegal activities such as illegal migration and illegal drug tracking, fisheries control and enforcement, pollution surveillance and response, natural resource and ecology protection, and salvage and rescue diving. The ICG operates the NATO Iceland Air Defence System and CRC Keflavík and is responsible for Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) in Iceland, hydrographic surveying and nautical charting. It also provides emergency medical transport, assistance to law enforcement on land, and civil protection.
The ICG's vessels, maritime surveillance aircraft and helicopters are designed and equipped to ensure a rapid response in crisis situations, including rescuing individuals from danger at sea or on land, providing urgent medical transport and assisting boats and ships within the country's jurisdiction. The Icelandic Coast Guard operates rescue helicopters, offshore patrol vessels, coastal vessels, and a maritime surveillance aircraft.
The Coast Guard's main strengths lie in the diverse skills, education and experience of its 250 team members. The ICG employs vessel captains, pilots, aircraft mechanics, engineers, sailors, explosive ordnance specialists, and various experts in the ICG's headquarters and operations centre. Education and training are immensely important for the Coast Guard's operations. Its employees participate in frequent exercises, both within the ICG and in collaboration with domestic and international partners, in order to be prepared for the significant and varied responsibilities that fall under the Coast Guard's purview. The Coast Guard's motto “Always Prepared” is personified in the well-trained and talented group of people of whom the ICG is so proud.