Christening HB Grandi’s Polar Bear

Vilhjálmur Vilhjálmsson with the ‘key’ to the new cold store. On the left is Haukur Magnússon from Íslenskir aðalverktakar. Photo/HB Grandi: Kristján Maack. Vilhjálmur Vilhjálmsson with the ‘key’ to the new cold store. On the left is Haukur Magnússon from Íslenskir aðalverktakar. Photo/HB Grandi: Kristján Maack.

HB Grandi’s new Ísbjörninn (Polar Bear) cold store in Nordurgardur, Iceland, was formally opened this week, after taking only six months to build.

Its name resulted from a competition among the staff and the winning name came from seven different people.

Approximately 1,500 people attended the opening ceremony, with 15,000 making the journey out to Nordurgardur where HB Grandi organised a series of events for Seamen’s Day, an important event in Iceland’s calendar.

HB Grandi managing director Vilhjálmur Vilhjálmsson welcomed guests, including the president of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, minister of finance Bjarni Benediktsson and city council leader Dagur B Eggertsson.

The President’s speech touched on the struggle to establish the right to manage Iceland’s own fishing grounds, commenting that fishermen, fish workers and fishing companies have been a central pillar of creating the standard of living that Icelanders enjoy today.

Commenting on the new cold store, Mr Vilhjálmsson said, “This is the result of experience and expertise, as well as some outstanding co-operation between all those who were involved. There isn’t time to mention all those who put their shoulders to the wheel, although it is only right that I mention Íslenska aðalverktaka, who built the cold store and selected the right sub-contractors with the skills and experience in their own fields, as well as Kælismidjan Frost who designed and installed the refrigeration system and with whom we have a long history.”

Each of the seven members of staff that put forward the name Ísbjörninn received a prize of ISK100,000.

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