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Net cutter (fisheries patrol): Wikis


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Net cutters
The net cutters, secret weapon of the Icelandic Coast Guard.
Place of origin  Iceland
Service history
In service 1958-present
Used by  Iceland
Wars Cod Wars
Production history
Designer R.Adm Pétur Sigurðsson
Manufacturer Icelandic Coast Guard Armory and others
Number built unknown
Variants normal and explosive versions
Length approx. 2 metres

The net cutters were secret[1] weapons employed by the Icelandic Coast Guard during the later two Cod Wars to cut the trawling wires of foreign fishing trawlers working within the then newly-claimed Exclusive Fisheries zones.

They were designed by Pétur Sigurðsson, director of the Icelandic Coast Guard for the 1958 war. However, they weren't put into use until 1972.


The first net cutting

On September 5 1972, at 10:25[1] ICGV Ægir, under Cdr. Guðmundur Kjærnested's command, encountered an unmarked trawler fishing northeast of Hornbanki. The master of this black-hulled trawler refused to divulge the trawler's name and number, and, after being warned to follow the Coast Guard's orders, played Rule Britannia over the radio. At 10:40 the net cutter was deployed into the water for the first time and Ægir sailed along the trawler's port side. The fishermen tossed a thick nylon rope into the water as the patrol ship closed in, attempting to disable its propeller. After passing the trawler, Ægir veered to the trawler's starboard side. The net cutter, 160 fathoms behind the patrol vessel, sliced one of the trawling wires. As ICGV Ægir came about to circle the unidentified trawler, its angry crew threw coal as well as garbage and a large fire axe at the Coast Guard vessel. A considerable amount of swearing and shouting came through the radio, which resulted in trawler being identified as Peter Scott H-103.[1]

Other users

This is how the net cutters are put into use.

The net cutters have not only been used by the Icelandic Coast Guard. The Norwegian Coast Guard has had the net cutters in its inventory for a long time and has successfully used them against Icelandic trawlers near Svalbard. Although during the first Norwegian usage of the net cutters they were employed on a small inflatable boat that did not have the same effect as a full size patrol ship, resulting in one set of net cutters to be "captured" by the Icelandic trawler. Shortly afterwards Icelandic coast guard officials made comments about the net cutters being "Used in a wrong manner", something the Norwegian Coast Guard paid attention to and as a result did not employ inflatable boats with net cutters. The Norwegian net cutters had also been slightly modified, and some speculations arose in Icelandic media as to the legality of other users of net cutters.

List of known users:


  1. ^ a b c Sæmundsson, Sveinn (1984) Guðmundur skipherra Kjærnested, Örn og Örlygur. [Reykjavík], p. 187-189.




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