THE GROWING IMPORTANCE OF SEAMEN’S DAY
‘If anything, there has been a greater importance to Seamen’s Day in recent years. Today is is linked to municipal celebrations that last the full weekend in many communities, such as Reykjavík, Grindavík, Neskaupstadur and there are certainly more,’ said Magnús Thorvaldsson, one of Iceland’s most experienced purse seine skippers.
He retired from Víkingur AK when he turned seventy. Previously he had skippered Sunnuberg NS, which had been operated by Tangi hf in Vopnafjördur, which subsequently was merged with HB Grandi. Magnús spent 56 years at sea and said that his first memories of Seamen’s Day go back to his youth in Fáskrúdsfjördur. He later lived for 18 years in Stödvarfjördur and took an active part in organising Seamen’s Day celebrations there, as long as he was not occupied elsewhere, fishing for Atlanto-Scandian herring outside Icelandic waters.
He said that Iceland’s Seamen’s Day celebration has attracted overseas and it is noticeable that it brings interested visitors from other countries, in particular from the Faroes and Norway.
On occasions there have been suggestions that the date of Seamen’s Day should be changed as early June is inconvenient for some fisheries, such as the companies running trawlers on deep sea redfish. Magnús said that he feels this is not the solution.
‘If the date is changed, then it will certainly coincide with some other fishery or another event,’ Magnús Thorvaldsson conculded, commenting that he would like to use the opportunity to send fishermen, their families and others who work with fisheries his best wishes for Seamen’s Day.