Today in Transportation History – 2011: A Ship Named After a Norse God Arrives

ICGV Thor (Þór), a new patrol vessel built for the Icelandic Coast Guard (ICG), arrived in Iceland’s capital city of Reykjavík two-and-a-half years after being launched at the ASMAR Naval Shipyard in Talcahuano, Chile. The ship was named after the Norse god Thor.

The origins of ICGV Thor can be traced to a proposal drafted in 2005 by Björn Bjarnason, Iceland’s minister of justice and ecclesiastical affairs. Björn made the case for obtaining a new ICG patrol vessel to replace the aging ICGV Óðinn, which had been in service since 1960. (Björn, incidentally, is no stranger to writing about public matters; he worked as a journalist for the longtime Icelandic newspaper Morgunblaðið and also became one of the first bloggers on the Internet.) The members of the Althing, Iceland’s national parliament, approved Björn’s proposal and initiated the process for obtaining a new ICG vessel.

ASMAR, state-owned shipbuilding corporation in Chile, won the bid for constructing the vessel. The contract for construction was signed in December 2006 by Björn; Árni M. Mathieson, Iceland’s minister of finance; Georg Kr. Lárusson, director of the ICG; and Carlos Fanta de la Vega, rear admiral of the Chilean Navy and director of the ASMAR Naval Shipyard.

Before ICGV Thor could be delivered to Iceland, a magnitude 8.8 earthquake slammed Chile in February 2010. This earthquake brought about a tsunami that wreaked havoc along the Chilean coastline and severely damaged the ASMAR Naval Shipyard. While ICGV Thor managed to survive this massive natural disaster, she still had to be placed in dry dock to undergo several repairs; consequently, her delivery to Iceland was delayed until the following year.   

In the time since her postponed arrival in Reykjavík, ICGV Thor has performed a wide range of duties for the ICG. These duties include search-and-rescue missions; the patrol of Iceland’s waters for civil defense purposes; firefighting operations; and oil spill cleanups as well as other environmental protection efforts.

For more information on ICGV Thor, please check out and

A video featuring ICGV Thor is available at

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