British Port Replacing Stolen Iceland Gift

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HULL, England, Sept. 22 (UPI) — The English port of Hull has decided to replace a stolen sculpture that had been presented by an Icelandic fishing village to honor a 1,000-year relationship.

The bronze “friendship statue,” titled Voyage, stood on a stone plinth on the Hull waterfront for five years, and a matching sculpture stands on the beachfront in Vik-i-Myrdal. The Hull sculpture was stolen in July, and there is widespread speculation it was sold as scrap metal.

Hull Lord Mayor Colin Inglis traveled to Iceland this week to arrange for a replacement, IceNews reported. The city plans to use 40,000 pounds ( about $65,000) to pay for the substitute sculpture by Icelandic artist Steinunn Thorarinsdottir.

Inglis told the BBC Icelanders appeared shocked by the theft. He said it was important to convince them Hull had valued the statue.

“They were amazed that anybody would do it. They just can’t believe that someone would stoop so low,” he said.

Hull on the Humber estuary in Yorkshire has been an important fishing port since the Middle Ages. While its fishermen have often been in competition with Icelanders — especially during the Cod Wars of the 1970s — they were often given shelter in bad weather in Icelandic fishing villages like Vik.

Processing of Icelandic fish has contributed to Hull’s economy in recent years.

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