Helge Ingstad: Norway surprised as newest warship sinks after collision

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A big gap was torn into the facet of KNM Helge Ingstad when it collided with a Malta-registered oil tanker, Sola TS, within the early hours of November 8.

The frigate, one in every of 5 within the Scandinavian nation’s navy, had been shifting round internal fjords in western Norway for navigation coaching earlier than it collided with the 250-meter lengthy tanker (820 ft) that was crusing out of an oil terminal.

Whereas army crew reportedly drove the vessel up on underwater rocks to be able to forestall it from sinking, the tanker emerged comparatively unscathed.

However efforts to maneuver the 5,500-ton warship to a secure place went catastrophically improper this week after cables connected to carry it in place snapped.

Now all that is still above the waterline is the frigate’s high, antennas and radar, main local media to speculate how a ship designed for battle did not keep away from a sluggish shifting 150,000-ton tanker.
The KNM Helge Ingstad pictured on November 10, 2018 in the Hjeltefjord near Bergen. The frigate, which was returning from NATO's Trident Juncture exercises, was evacuated after the collision with the Sola TS tanker, Norway's army said.

Norway’s army has remained tight lipped concerning the state of affairs, which injured eight of the 137 individuals on board. Navy communications officer Torill Herland instructed CNN that no matter occurred through the accident close to Bergen is now “police work.”

A joint Norwegian and Maltese investigation is now additionally underway to attempt to decide the trigger.

Comparable instances involving US Navy destroyers during the last two years had been discovered to have been all the way down to avoidable errors, in line with Alex Pape, Editor of Jane’s Combating Ships, however he stated it’s too early to invest on this incident.

“Warships, significantly floor combatants like frigates, are typically designed to face up to a level of battle injury,” Pape instructed CNN.

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“Nevertheless, even for effectively protected warships, in the event that they maintain enough injury, significantly in adjoining compartments and under the waterline, the ensuing flooding could also be an excessive amount of for pumps and/or the crew’s injury management efforts to deal with, and the ship will checklist, capsize or sink.

Pape stated this specific incident means that along with a visual giant gap torn within the starboard facet, there may be substantial injury to the hull close to or under the waterline, which then quickly flooded the aft compartments of the ship.

Heavy chains

The tried rescue of the frigate has actually raised eyebrows.

Jan Vindenes is the final supervisor of Sotra Anchor & Chain, whose merchandise have been utilized in quite a few shipwreck recoveries, together with that of the Costa Concordia — the cruise ship which crashed into rocks off the coast of Italy in 2012, killing 32 individuals on board. He thinks chains may have been used to safe the frigate.

“They used some wire to safe the frigate however sadly it snapped. We are saying that chain is stronger and higher than wire.”

“We’ve got chain that may maintain 2,000 tonnes, and our chain was used to lift the Costa Concordia, which was very a lot larger than this frigate” he added.

A pricey crash

On condition that the frigate is one in every of solely 5 operated by the Norwegian navy, its loss is more likely to impression on nationwide and NATO operations. However the nation’s army must fastidiously contemplate the price of salvaging and repairing it for lively service.

Pape instructed CNN: “Curiously, if the ship isn’t repaired, the discount of 1 ship that must be maintained, upgraded, manned and used over the remaining 20 years of its life will imply that value for the navy may go down in the long term, nevertheless with a lack of functionality.”

Pape estimates {that a} choice to salvage it, restore it, and return it to service would value tons of of thousands and thousands of {dollars}. “The entire value could possibly be much like the price of a brand new ship.”

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The monetary impression of the crash is more likely to be felt effectively past the army, because it triggered the shutdown of a North Sea crude export terminal, Norway’s largest gasoline processing plant and a number of other offshore fields.

In whole, these 5 oil and gasoline fields produce round 400 million Norwegian krone ($48 million) a day or 17 million krone ($2 million) an hour. For the reason that oil firms pay 78 % taxes to the state for manufacturing, the two-day shutdown in the end resulted in a considerable financial loss for the nation, nationwide broadcaster NRK reported.

Thankfully the oil tanker — which was carrying nearly 100 million liters of oil — was not significantly broken within the accident. The Norwegian Coastal Administration stated it had cleaned up some diesel and helicopter gas that was spilled within the incident, however that has been largely contained, in line with Truls Gulowsen, head of Greenpeace in Norway.

“A significant leakage would have constituted an unbelievable environmental catastrophe that simply may have impacted most of Norway’s western shoreline,” Gulowsen instructed CNN.

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The crash led to a small quantity of diesel and 10,000 liters of helicopter gas to leak from the vessel, which has largely been contained and recovered, he stated.

Gulowsen added nevertheless that, “the state of affairs isn’t but steady and the vessel remains to be beneath water. The frigate had further 385,000 liters of marine diesel, however this has not leaked,”

The Norwegian Navy is now contemplating methods to lift the vessel, in line with the army’s chief of employees, Admiral Nils Andreas Stensones.

“It’s totally laborious for a navy to lose a vessel,” he instructed AFP.



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