Iceland authorizes U.S. submarine service visits

A file photo of the USS Delaware, an American Virginia-Class submarine. (Brendan Smialowski /AFP/ via Getty Images)

Iceland has authorized U.S. submarines to make service visits to the country, it said in a news release on Tuesday.

“This decision by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs is part of the Icelandic government’s policy to support increased monitoring and response capacity of Allied countries in the North Atlantic,” the department said in a statement.

Such visits have long been made in allied countries like Norway, and more recently the Faroe Islands, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said.

The government described service visits as those required to receive supplies or to rotate crews.

First visit coming up

The first submarine is expected “in the near future,” the Foreign Affairs Ministry said, but will be serviced off the coast and will not make a port call.

“These service visits will contribute to strengthening the continuous and active submarine surveillance of allied countries, which ensures better situational awareness and increases the safety of underwater infrastructure such as submarine cables in the waters around Iceland,” the ministry said.

“The frequency of visits will depend on the need at any given time.”

North Atlantic cooperation

Iceland’s national security policy includes that its territorial waters remain free from nuclear weapons, and this has been communicated to the U.S. government, the ministry said, adding that the U.S. submarines authorized to visit Iceland are not equipped to carry nuclear weapons.

Iceland says allowing the submarine visits builds on increasing cooperation between Washington and Reykjavik on North Atlantic cooperation.

After the leaving the Keflavik Air Base in Iceland in 2006, the two countries announced the U.S.’s return in 2016.

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)

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