For 12 years, Reidar Nilsen (74) was the leader of the Norwegian Fishermen’s Association. He is still missing and presumed dead after a crash with a shark on Sunday. The son Remi Andre has been found dead.
The police confirm in a press release that it was Reidar and Remi Andre Nilsen who were on board the ship that went down outside Gamvik in Finnmark on Sunday.
From 2001 to 2013, the late Reidar Nilsen was the leader of the Norwegian Coastal Fishermen’s Association. Current leader Kåre Heggebø remembers a leader who was well-liked.
– He was a prominent and charismatic leader of the Fishermen’s Association for 12 years. Even after he resigned, he was a clear voice for the fishermen and coastal Norway until his last day, says Heggebø.
– He also had a way of being with a light tone, which made him come very well on speaking terms with the vast majority. He was very well liked and respected, both while he was chairman and in retrospect. It is very sad, and it will be a great loss, Heggebø continues.
The fishing team leader expresses his sympathy for the family of the deceased.
– The fact that they were also two from the family, means that they are hit even harder. It will probably more than double up, so to speak.
It was Sunday that a shark crashed in Gamvik in Finnmark.
One person was found dead, while the other is believed to have died. It became known the same day that the two involved were father and son, who were going out crab fishing.
Appointed an honorary member in 2015
In 2015, Reidar Nilsen was named the 50th honorary member of the Norwegian Fishermen’s Association.
– Reidar has always been a socially engaged person and has never been afraid to say his opinion. No one should be in doubt about what Reidar means. However, this does not mean that he does not accept other opinions, said the then leader Kjell Ingebrigtsen about his predecessor at the time.
– With his sociable nature and generosity, he arouses great trust, both in the fishermen’s organizations and in political life, he continued.
According to Fiskarlaget, Nilsen trained as a helmsman at Tromsø Seamen’s School in 1967. Between 1962 and 1970, he worked with foreign trade, before in 1970 he decided to become a fisherman.
In large parts of his professional life, he engaged in shrimp trawling on the coast, in the Barents Sea and “far up by the ice edge”, it is stated in the press release from Fiskarlaget from when he was appointed honorary.
– Goes cold down the back
– It’s a terrible tragedy. This is something we work with daily so that it does not happen. But it happens. Then it is so tragic that you can hardly find words, says Tommy Pettersen, who is the leader of the local team for Western Finnmark in Norway’s coastal fishing team.
The organization is separate from Fiskarlaget, of which Nilsen was leader for many years. Pettersen says he has nevertheless been in contact with Nilsen in connection with the organizational work.
– Every time such accidents happen, it goes cold down the back. Then we must continue to work with even more focus on safety, Pettersen believes.
He says that he himself has been by boat in the area around Gamvik, and describes it as a demanding area.
– It is very hard, shallow, and many reefs. The north wind comes from the north, as it did on Sunday, you are blown in towards land. Had the wind come the other way, there would not have been as many waves and sea there either, Pettersen explains.
He says it makes a strong impression on those who fish in the area to lose a colleague in this way.
– It is risky work. And it is clear that it makes an impression to lose a colleague, says Pettersen, who wants to offer condolences to the family of the deceased.