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Iceland: Shipping Lines

Last modified: 2021-10-23 by rob raeside
Keywords: iceland | nesskip | eimskipafjelag íslands |
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Eimskipafjelag Íslands

[Eimskipafjelag Íslands house flag, Iceland] image by Rob Raeside, 01 October 2013

I was approached by a person at Eimskip, who asked if we could remove the image of the fylfot (swastika) flag from the page - it was discontinued after WW2. In the end we agreed to retain the image, but suppress it on the page. Meanwhile, I learned that the flag with the Icelandic logo is now used with an English logo, and I have confirmed this flag is used.
Rob Raeside, 01 October 2013

Previously Reported Flag

[Eimskipafjelag Íslands house flag, Iceland] image by H.M.

Here is the new symbol of the shipping company which has helped ensure Iceland's independence: Eimskipafjelag Íslands, which was founded 17 January 1914, after the first president talked about its necessity with some local businessmen. The old symbol was used from the beginning but has not been displayed from around the WW2.

From their press release: At the beginning of next year a new chapter in the history of Eimskip will begin. Under its A new organization chart, the Eimskip ehf. transportation company will be one of three independent subsidiaries of the parent company, The Iceland Steamship Company Ltd. The role of the Eimskip transport company will continue to be the supplier of choice of comprehensive transportation and logistic services, guided by the principles of professionalism and responsibility. Eimskip will build on three core values: achievement, cooperation and trust.
H.M., 9 December 2002

[Eimskipafjelag Íslands house flag, Iceland] image by Eugene Ipavec, 18 June 2017

The photo carrousel on the company homepage shows a blue variant (compare with national flag, also in the picture) with greyish lettering and without slogan:
Quote from `Media Center' section (upper menu) concerning the logo:
"The foundation of the logo is the letter "E" which refers to the name of the company. The E in the logo is twofold and interconnected representing the business connections between Eimskip and its customers.
The blue color stands for Iceland and the connection to the ocean, while the grey /silvered color refers to valuables - the making of capital goods for Eimskip and its customers."
Logo page:
Note: I suppose the photo of `Selfoss' linked to by Ned (end of FOTW-ws article) has been changed, as the swastika or fylfot is longer to be seen. Link to a 1930 poster:
Jan Mertens, 20 March 2011

[Eimskipafjelag Íslands house flag, Iceland] image by Eugene Ipavec, 18 June 2017

To add to other variants of the flag of this Icelandic shipping line, a version I saw on the ferry Baldur docked at Stykkishólmur a few weeks ago. The logos available online all use this shade of lightish blue, while both flags seem to use a perceptibly darker one, but that might just be weathering.
Eugene Ipavec, 18 June 2017

Historical Flag

The Iceland Steamship Co. Ltd. originally traded as H/f Eimskipafelag Islands changing to the English translation in 1985. The original flag (drawn by Jarig Bakker, 14 August 2004) mentioned was white with a blue cross fylfot or right handed swastika which is no doubt why it was not seen after WW2, although sources continue to show its existence. The early Brown series placed it under the name of the Iceland Government and up to 1943 showed it with a squat version of the cross whereas from 1978 a more elongated version appears indicating that possibly there was a design change. To confuse matters somewhat, Talbot-Booth in 1936, 1942 and 1944 publications reverses the cross to make it a left handed swastika. I presume that he was in error.
Neale Rosanoski, 18 October 2003

The Iceland S.S, Co., Ltd. (Islands, Eimskipafelag H/f) houseflag was recently drawn by Ivan; Jörg Karaschewski sent an image with a thicker "Hammer of Thor", which I also find in "All about Ships & Shipping", 1959 - description: "Hammer of Thor in Blue on White Ground". However Lloyd's Calendar (1957) puts it simply: Blue swastika on white ground.
Jarig Bakker, 23 October 2003

More surprisingly, it is a clockwise (á la NSDAP) not a counterclockwise swastika. Is this a variant of the house flag, or the reverse of the flag, or what?
Santiago Dotor, 28 October 2003

I got the flag together with a Christmas card. The card shows the office building in Reykjavik from 1926. On the roof there is also the clockwise swastika. So I think it is the original houseflag since the beginning in 1914.
Jörg Karaschewski, 29 October 2003

From the National Maritime Museum: "The house flag of H/E Eimskipafelag, Reykjavik, Iceland. A white rectangular flag with a blue swastika in the centre.
Jarig Bakker, 14 August 2004

That's not a swastika; the arms are half-length. It's a fylfot, I believe, though I can't swear to the spelling of that odd word.
Al Kirsch, 14 August 2004

I sailed on the Icelandic Steamship ships from 1963 to 1969. During this time the swastika flag was flown on their ships wherever. Of course the flag was observed and drove attention to it, where we went, especially in Germany. The British merchant people knew that this flag was already in use in this company from somewhere around 1920.
Guðjón Arngrímsson, 1 November 2006

Photographic confirmation of the swastika flag can be seen at which show's the company's ship M.V. Selfoss flying the blue swastika on white house flag. The photo cannot be any earlier than 1999 since that was when the name Selfoss was first given to the vessel (
Ned Smith, 1 November 2006

This logo is never used in Iceland. It has not been used since after WW2. The logo shows up when you google Eimskip.
Ólafur Erling Ólafsson, 26 September 2013

Google have now updated their company presentation for Eimskip. Our image still appears some seven screens down in Google image search.
On the other hand, we are the second entry in Google text search results for the combination of Iceland and swastika. I guess that's because the word swastika appears twelve times on that page, mostly as misidentifications of the fylfot.
The page about the Selfoss that we link to on this topic now shows a different, presumably more recent, photograph, without fylfot flag. The old photograph has been archived at, though.
(For me, the Google link at the end of the section does not give an Eimskip presentation at all, since it's for Google Island, which offers foreigners like me results in English in the spot where displays the presentation.)
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 09 January 2014

Samband Islenzkra Samvinnufelaga

[Samband Islenzkra Samvinnufelaga house flag, Iceland] image by Jarig Bakker, 29 December 2005

Samband Islenzkra Samvinnufelaga, Reykjavik - green flag, white diamond, black circle, black "SiS".
Source: Loughran (1995)
Jarig Bakker, 29 December 2005


This "Federation of Co-operatives" must be the "Samband" mentioned on Samskip’s website:
"Samskip is one of the major logistic companies in the field of reefer container transport, and offers a complete range of service. With offices in Continental Europe, United Kingdom, Scandinavia, Asia and North and South America, Samskip is present in the most strategic areas regarding seafood, meat, vegetables, fruits and poultry products."
From the ‘Samskip / About us / History’ section, upper menu: "Samskip derives from the Federation of Co-operatives, Samband, which started a shipping company , Samband Line, in 1943. Samband Line, a division of Samband, was changed into a limited company in 1991 called Samskip hf. Samband owned 85% of the share capital" as read here
A brief presentation of Samskip will follow, but as a variant item seems to precede the company livery as shown on the website. German eBay offer no. 150441931798 (end 16 May 2010), put up by "sloman-fahrer", the pic - somewhat reduced - shows a simple dark blue flag bearing the company name in white "SAMSKIP".
Jan Mertens, 24 February 2011

From the company website’s ‘Samskip / About us / History’ section: reorganized in 1993 resulting in reduction of workforce and number of ships from four to ten; new capital proved advantageous; Geest North Sea Line and British Seawheel acquired in 2005; one single name "Samskip" introduced in 2006.
Three ships link Iceland and the Faroe Islands to Great Britain and continental Europe (dry, bulk, and project cargo); a local ferry is operated as well. Further logistics and warehousing operations are extensive. Fleet list, including the ‘Silver Fleet’ reefers partially owned by Samskip.
This image shows a white table flag with the company name in dark blue (special font) however the chevron in "K" is light blue. Source: German eBay offer no. 170482920225 (end 17 May 2010) put up by "wodkalisa2".
Photos showing the name as currently written on blue, photo detail.
Large image of the name on a "style" page:
I still have to find a photo of one of the above (or previous) flags, flying on a ship however.
Jan Mertens, 25 February 2011