Half century since Víkingur AK’s delivery
Fifty years ago Víkingur AK arrived in its home port of Akranes for the first time. According to Karl Sigurjónsson, who manage vessel maintenance for HB Grandi in Akranes, the ship was built at the AG Weber Werk shipyard at Bremerhaven in Germany and was at the time the one of the largest and most sophisticated fishing vessels in the Icelandic fleet alongside sister ships Mai GK-346, Frey RE-1 and Sigurdur ÍS-33, which later was re-registered first as RE-4 and subsequently VE-15.
According to Karl Sigurjónsson, Víkingur AK is not the only one of these veteran fishing vessels to have any involvement with HB Grandi and its predecessors Ísbjörninn hf which later merged with Bæjarútgerd Reykjavíkur to form Grandi originally ordered Frey RE. This ship was sold overseas and became Ross Revenge GY-718. More recently this ship was a floating radio station as Radio Caroline from 1983 to 1991, but has now been acquired by a group that hopes to restore the ship to its original condition. More information can be found on this at http://www.rossrevenge.co.uk .
Víkingur was originally fitted with a 2400hp Werkspoor main engine and had a top speed of 16 to 17 knots, which even today is seen as a good speed for a ship of this size and power. Víkingur has always had Akranes as its home port, and was built originally to fish redfish in Newfoundland. It was first refitted to operate as a purse seiner in 1967 and subsequently fished for herring. A new main engine was fitted in 1981 and the electrical system on board was overhauled. In 1989 a new wheelhouse was fitted and the upper layer of accommodation was renewed.
Víkingur has been an exceptionally successful ship over its entire career and a top catcher in its class. Its total catches over half a century are estimated to be around 930,000 tonnes, of which 46,000 tonnes of groundfish were landed during the first half of its career. For the last few years Víkingur has been in semi-retirement in port in Akranes and has been used primarily for fishing capelin since 2005, as well as to transport mackerel catches in the summer of 2009. Víkingur’s skipper is Magnús Thorvaldsson.
Celebrating a special day
To mark this very special day, a reception is being held at Akranes today. As part of the celebration, anyone who sailed in or was involved with Víkingur during the ship’s fifty-year career is invited to a reception in the HB Grandi canteen at Akranes. The celebration is to be kicked off with a fired salute in the Coast Guard style at 14.30, the same time that the ship sailed for the first time into port at Akranes, decked with flags on the 21st of October 1960.