Icelandic delegation to donate maritime relic

Officials from Reykjavik will visit Hull as part of a return visit of a Cod Wars exchange, and to donate a secret weapon to Hull Museums, never seen before outside of Iceland.

The delegation includes the President of Reykjavik City Council, the chair of Reykjavik City Council Cultural Committee, Museum staff and members of the Icelandic Coastguard Senior Council. They will have a private viewing of the ‘A Common Foe’ exhibition, featuring film and photographs by Simon Sharp, which looks at the links between the two fishing communities – Hull and Reykjavik.

The visit will also include an official handover of an original warp cutter, kindly donated from the Icelandic Coast Guard and the Club of Retired Coast Guard Personnel, which was used during the confrontation between Iceland and Britain in the 1970s, which became known as the Cod Wars, and has been donated to the Maritime Museum.

Councillor Terry Geraghty, Hull City Council Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Tourism and Chair of Hull Culture & Leisure Limited, said: “We are honoured to welcome the Icelandic party to Hull. The visit will offer an insight to Hull’s strong fishing industry and links to Iceland and their gift of the warp cutter will illustrate the rich and varied history between the two communities.

“I hope they enjoy their two-day visit to the city and I would like to thank both Icelandic Coast Guard and the Club of Retired Coast Guard Personnel for their kind gesture, it will make a great addition to the museum.”

Elsa Yeoman, City Councillor and Chairman of Cultural and Tourism, Reykjavik City Council, said: “We welcome this collaboration between the Maritime Museum in Hull and Reykjavik in their effort in keeping the shared history of these cities alive. It is also a great pleasure to witness how successful we have been in getting people on both sides to co-operate in great harmony in sharing their common experiences. For that we are very grateful.”

Líf Magneudottir, President of Reykjavik City Council and Deputy Mayor, said: “Reykjavik and Hull are Sister Cities, and for a good reason. We can trace this relationship back many centuries and the common ground has been the ocean that separates the two. In recent years and decades, however, these cities have changed and developed. Both are great cultural cities, and it is our hope and certainty that the common bond that unites us will continue to be strong. We also greatly appreciate the warmth that has characterised all our relations.”

The warp cutter has an interesting story as it was developed by the Icelandic Coastguard to cut the nets away from trawlers. The simple yet effective design remained a mystery to the British government until after the conflict had finished. The Warp Cutter was one of the factors that led to the end of British trawlers fishing in their traditional waters and hastened the end of Hull’s fishing industry. The Icelandic coastguard veterans have now offered it to Hull as a symbol of respect.

The original warp cutter will now join the permanent collection and it will be the first time to go on display outside of Iceland.

‘A Common Foe’ is on display until Sunday 24 September. Admission is free and open: Monday – Saturday 10am – 5pm and Sunday 11am – 4.30pm. It is also open until 7.30pm every Thursday.