Icelandic cruiser on EU border security patrol duty

Aegir_1066_2007_08_29littleThe Icelandic coastguard cruiser, AEgir is nearing the African country of Senegal, where it will work for the European Border Control Agency.

AEgir left Iceland on 20th April and is expected in the Senegalese capital, Dakar soon, reported.

The cruiser’s job will be to patrol the outer limits of the Schengen zone from May to September under the guise of the FRONTEX European border control agency, based in Warsaw. Although not an EU member, Iceland is a part of the Schengen zone which allows passport-free travel between member states. As a part of Schengen, Iceland must participate in protecting European borders.

AEgir will monitor ocean traffic and report information to FRONTEX on land. The ship has been kitted out with special equipment for the cruise, including extra engine cooling, air conditioning and night vision.

The children’s charity ABC Barnahjalp seized the opportunity to use AEgir as transport for equipment being sent to a school it runs in Dakar.

The ship’s crew of 14 will visit Dakar, Las Palmas and Almeria as part of their mission, during which time Ægir will also patrol the western Mediterranean Sea before returning to Iceland in October. AEgir usually travels with a crew of 18, and has room for up to 64.

Iceland does not have a military; but large coastguard vessels, including AEgir, are armed and capable of engaging hostile ships – although they are strictly civilian vessels and are never deliberately put into harm’s way.

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