The Síldarvinnslan fishmeal plant at Seyðisfjörður in eastern Iceland was last night evacuated after a long period of snowfalls combined with rising temperatures and rain created an avalanche risk as snow on the Strandartindur mountain overlooking the factory began to loosen.
The factory has just begun pumping ashore a landing of blue whiting from pelagic vessel Margrét when a call from the police told staff that the industrial district where the plant is located was to be evacuated until further notice, and it remains closed off today.
According to factory manager Gunnar Sverrisson, the call came at 2100 yesterday, when 450 tonnes had been pumped ashore and meal production had just started.
Production was ended quickly, but uncoupling the discharging system took longer, and the areas was finally evacuated at 2200, and Margrét was moved to an other berth in the harbour to wait for the rest of its fish to be discharged later.
‘I don’t recall that there has even been an avalanche on the area where the factory is, although they have occurred on either side. I’m not expecting to be allowed back to the factory today, but we’ll find out what happens later,’ he said, adding that there should be no problems with the fish already landed and not yet processed, as long as production can be re-started tomorrow.