The following was issued by NATO regarding an incident with the Norwegian frigate, HNoMS Helge Ingstad.

First, a bit of background. Yesterday, while returning from NATO exercises, the frigate collided with the Maltese flagged tanker Sola TS and began taking on water. The ship was deliberately run aground in an attempt to prevent her sinking and allow for the evacuation of the crew. Seven sailors were injured in the incident and by late morning she had developed a severe angle of list to starboard side with most of the stern submerged.

“HNoMS Helge Ingstad was involved in a collision with the Maltese oil tanker Sola TS in Norwegian waters around 0400 this morning (8 Nov) while sailing inner Fjords for navigation training.

Due to the damage to the frigate it was moved to a safe place and the crew was evacuated in a professional manner. There are no reports of damages or leaks from the oil tanker and no report of serious injuries, though eight crewmembers are being treated for minor injuries.
The Norwegian Armed Forces are working with the Norwegian Coastal Authority to address the situation. The Norwegian frigate HNoMS Helge Ingstad is part of the Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1). The group was sailing in and around the Fjords, following their participation in exercise Trident Juncture 2018 which concluded on November 7th.
The rest of SNMG1’s ships are positioned nearby at sea in the event that further assistance is required.”

34 COMMENTS

  1. As awful as the incident if its a total loss they now are one frigate down. We are running 2 Frigate build programs, We can offer 1 or 2 tagged onto our orderbook. If some of the work load is constabulary duties we also offer River class on lease to free up the remaining 4 frigates.

    • 2 frigate build programmes, one of which is already strung out and the other of which is meant to be producing ships rapidly to replace our own. Unless we offset our own fleet’s needs and give them an early build the earliest we could offer them a replacement is around 2028 for a T31 or the late 2030s for a T26.

    • They may be a frigate down, but they will be a crew up, minus whoever gets court martial’ed for the whoopsie. 🙂

      I don’t think they will be too bothered about a new frigate.

    • I was thinking this when I read some of the articles yesterday but this is the first one to actually confirm it was moored.
      Those tankers need a couple of miles to come to a stop so in theory could something like this happen to QE if she was docked in somewhere like Gibraltar? It would be an extremely expensive accident. Even this one will not be a cheap insurance claim.

  2. you ever get the feeling the russian or chinese are paying oil tanker captains to ram our navy ships – honestly collisions like this shouldn’t happen

    • I’d heard that in war they would scuttle merchant ships at the entrances to our harbours. The security service was always on the look out for a marked increase of Russian sailors coming ashore at NATO ports as a possible prelude to hostilities.

      So I guess ramming NATO warships not so far fetched!

    • John, that’s an entirely ridiculous idea……… or is it…… the tanker was a Malta flagged vessel…. Malta runs on Russian money. Russia and China run alternative type covert operations, the events in the Pacific of the last year involving the USN immediately come to mind. Norwegians are known to be some of the best mariners on the seas. The incident is very odd.

  3. Engine room/main machinery space serious ingress of water will pretty much sink anything afloat.

    She really copped it though – proper job!

  4. Looks like a write off to me. The USS Port Royal ran aground a couple of years back and her Aegis system has not been functional since and that was a gentle grounding. This grounding appears anything but gentle and the Captain probably put her on the rocks at a good rate to try to save his crew (not his ship). The pictures of the damaged hull area looked severe and if she was taking on water fast enough to justify running her aground it’s probably just as severe if not worse below the waterline. The ship has also now settled on her side and is not designed to rest like that, compartments will start to buckle and collapse. Every minute she stays there the chances of salvage decrease. The only consolation is that the crew are safe, not sure what their next posting will be though.

    • USS Port Royal didn’t take that long to repair and her Aegis is still functioning she even had deployments last year.
      Her delay to resuming patrols had more to do with sequester budgets.

      • Perhaps your sources are better than mine but from what i have heard that’s not the case and the ship is now compromised in it’s main function. Regardless the point being that modern warships are rather delicate and don’t cope well with rough treatment. Also ships deploy below peak efficiency all the time, the entire Aegis system (fleet wide) was badly degraded on many deployed ships and the US Navy has had to spend and is continuing to spend a fortune correcting this. One of our Frigates was in a combat zone off the coast of Libya with only a few SAMs loaded within recent memory and one of our carriers was hobbled throughout the entire Falklands campaign. I could be wrong but fear the Norwegian ship is now beyond economical repair. What do you think? Will she be salvaged or scrapped?

  5. I don’t want to make light of the situation but how does stuff like this happen?
    Military vessels are supposed to be all about situational awareness and lately we’ve had them crashing into all sorts of things, (from various nations so it can’t be a lack of training) what’s going on?

    • The USN recent incidents have been down to lack of training. The Pacific fleet had a stand down on ops to allow ships and captains to sort their S**t out and ensure that the right people with the right training where on the bridge when required.

      For Southampton’s collision in the Gulf, human error from the bridge crew.
      Nottingham, human error. A thick pencil line on the chart masked the rock they hit.
      Brazen unmarked rock.
      The above have been addressed as the RN through the use of electronic chart systems that bleep warnings out (Constantly!) when a hazard is on the vessels track. No more thick pencil lines!

  6. I would like to know which UK carrier was ‘ hobbled’ throughout the Falklands campaign? As Hermes operated well with no major defects, invincible likewise, even though she managed to change one of her four Olympus engines whilst at sea. Neither vessels had any significant operating defects and believe me I know. On the flip side Nottingham was never the same after her grounding, constant shaft/ hull alignment issues, her grounding should have resulted in the loss of the ship, Fortuntaly her crew were exceptionally well trained, even ignoring standard practice to continue damage control in an environment which by the book would have been abandoned.

    • So are you saying changing a 2.5 ton hydraulic coupling whilst at sea and having only one of two shafts working between April 7th and April 15th is not a significant operating defect? Maybe hobbled throughout was an exaggeration but the point was and remains that ships routinely deploy with defects or continue operations with after developing defects.

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