Norwegian navy frigate KNM Helge Ingstad is now almost totally submerged after a collision with a commercial tanker, photos taken by the Norwegian Coastal Administration confirm.

The KNM Helge Ingstad and the tanker Sola TS collided in Hjeltefjorden, north of the Stureterminal Hall in Øygarden area of Hordaland at 04:02.

Image via Norwegian Coastal Administration.

The 127 crew was evacuated shortly after the incident, 8 members of the crew are understood to have suffered injuries.

Eirik Walle, of Norway’s rescue centre, told Norwegian news agency NTB that the collision caused an opening in the frigate’s hull and “it is taking in more water than they can pump out. There is no control over the leak and the stern is heavily in the sea.”

Johan Marius Ly of the Norwegian Coast Guard said “we have been told that there is a leak from the frigate. It should be a helicopter fuel, but the extent of leakage is unknown.”

The class are the main surface combatants of the Royal Norwegian Navy. The ships are named after famous Norwegian explorers, with the lead ship of the class bearing the name of Fridtjof Nansen.

Five ships were ordered from Spanish shipbuilder Bazan at a cost of $2.54 billion.

Image via Norwegian Coastal Administration.

NATO issued the following statement:

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.”

29 COMMENTS

  1. Yet another western military vessel deliberately rammed by an oil tanker, whose pilot’s name was…?

    Is this “Ship Jihad”, like “Vehicular Jihad”, “Wildfire Jihad”, and all the rest? Or are we going to keep pretending these things don’t exist?

  2. Would they not have been at an increased DC condition/SSD given proximity to the coast etc??
    It’s amazing how quickly the ship was lost/abandoned, makes the efforts of NOTT and SOUT even more impressive!

    • A Catastrophic breech of the hull down the stbd side, rendering the DC inefficient! Plus SS would have attempted to fight the flood initially. No doubt beaten back quite rapidly which would have lost a few other compartments.

      An immense effort by the crew and a phenomenal achievement that they didn’t lose any crew.

    • She can be salvaged certainly, the Norwegians have plenty of experience doing that kind of work but all her systems and electronics have been exposed to Salt water now on top of the severe hull damage.

      It might not be an economic repair now, it might require all but gutting her rebuilding from scratch which is extreme. The US Destroyers that were recently damaged due to crashes were at least able to remain afloat keeping their systems and electronics from getting a salt water bath making repair feasible .

      I will be fascinated to see the Court of enquiry findings on this one.

  3. This could end up as a total write-off now, exposure of all her systems and sensitive electronics to salt water on top of the severe hull damage is not conducive to simple repair.

    Considering that it is increasingly looking to be the fault of the bridge team rather than the Oil tanker or shore traffic control means any hope of chasing the ship owners insurers are a waste of time.

    Norway for the medium to long term might have to adapt to being a four frigate navy. I am sure Navantia would happily make them another frigate but that won’t be cheap.

  4. I have been watching videos of Trident Juncture. It was a bit sad to see her steaming about in the background happy as a lamb.

  5. Sad to see the demise of such a relatively new and beaut ship. Also makes one think how easily such surface vessels can be lost! The one incident that beats all for me in terms of culpability is how that Argentinian Type 42 was allowed to rot and turn turtle whilst moored in a Naval Dockyard! Takes lack of care in every sense to new highs!

  6. Luckily, the Norwegians have squillions in the bank from Oil and Gas sales…

    As no one was hurt, this is a rather hilarious event I have to say. For all the millions of dollars on fancy electronic warfare suites and all the rest, the ship sinks after a prang with a crude tanker (probably worth about 20 million quid – especially in the recent oil market…).

    Kipling eloquently composed this and it applies as well today..(the second paragraph anon…)

    A scrimmage in a Border Station-
    A canter down some dark defile
    Two thousand pounds of education
    Drops to a ten-rupee jezail.
    The Crammer’s boast, the Squadron’s pride,
    Shot like a rabbit in a ride!

    In port limits, sleek and slip,
    Look out starboard side abaft!
    four hundred million dollars worth of warship,
    prangs a rusty old VLCC with a 13 metre draught,
    The 21st century’s military might, Expensive flashy kit,
    6 feet under water in a cold wet rocky pit.

    • “no one was hurt” – as it clearly states in the article “8 members of the crew are understood to have suffered injuries”. Reading things properly before commenting is always a good idea Billy.

  7. I’m not an exspert in ship repair but that looks like a write off. A hole in the hull is one thing, salt water gutting the sensitive internals is another. Fallout from this is going to be interesting. Cause of the crash is one thing but I’m more interested in how they weren’t able to keep her afloat and what efforts the crew made.

  8. Evening all
    Question to Gunbuster and any other dark blue out there:
    Why were the water tight hatches not closed before the ship was abandoned?
    Having only been a passenger on RN warships we still had to do the required drills and I am sure I can remember drills that had me closing hatches, reporting them closed and moving on.
    Having been a guest on the Death Star and bunking below the waterline it was something we practiced often, including leaving said bunk at a rapid rate of knots so as not to be left behind once the hatch had been closed!

    • I suggest you have a look at the enquiry report over the near sinking of HMS Protector as a starting point Lee H. In that case a ship nearly sunk due to a pipe being open to the sea in the engine room with no hull damage.

      The Helge Ingstad going on what info we have so far had severe hull damage that led to the rapid flooding of her machinery spaces and engine room, pretty much the worse case scenario.

      Even buttoned up with watertight doors closed flooding in her machinery spaces would rapidly lead to loss of power and propulsion meaning they would have no means to stop the rapid flooding.

      This is going to be a board of enquiry and Norwegian equivalent of a Courts Martial situation so we should eventually get a good break down of the chain of events. After the collision it sounds like the crew did what they could but flooding overwhelmed them, the actions of the bridge crew and watch keeper are going to be of great interest.

      I do have some questions over reliance on technology when it comes to low light conditions and operating in busy shipping channels for warships but they can wait until we know more over these events.

    • “Close all red openings” , or the equivalent in Norwegian, was not going to stop a free flood of one possibly two machinery spaces.
      A number of red opening doors, hatches, vent trunks scupper etc are closed when the call is made. Usually everything below the waterline and also fwd and aft for a few sections should a collision occur.
      From the pictures I have seen in the Norwegian press it would appear to me that the anchor horn punctured and crushed the hull as well as the bulbous bow of the tanker lifting the vessel out of the water. When she came off the bulbous bow the big, long hole in the side resulted in a free flood.
      She probably had an emergency Genset for limited emergency power somewhere fwd or aft but with that level of flooding, that happened that quickly, the only real option you have is once only suits, life jackets and life rafts. No matter what you do, shoring, pumping,leak stopping, counter flooding its pretty much a lost cause.

  9. Kinda amazes me that they couldn’t save it before it completely fell under the water. You would have thought there would be sealed doors that could have been closed to minimize the flooding and then a few tugs could have attempted to re position it into shallower waters. shows i know nothing about marine salvage.

  10. Has anyone been on these Navantia ships who can tell what the design quality and safety is like?
    I would like to think the survivability is better on our ships and could be a good selling point for our offerings using this particular occurrence as point of reference. Might stop other nations buying Spanish crap, if that is indeed the case?

    • The are certainly not crap, I did go onboard the Álvaro de Bazán a few years back. It was a modern well finished vessel, very similar in form and fit to a Perry class internally which is not entirely a coincidence as the US gave help to modernise the Spanish yard that built their licensed copy of the latter.

      • That being said I think the Norwegians had some post delivery issues if my memory serves me right. Rust and reliability plus fragility of certain parts in the northerly climbs they operate in.

    • I am not sure many ships would survive an impact of that magnitude. It ripped a hole that looks like it was almost half the length of the ship!

  11. She’s scrap now guys, unfortunately. Main point being that everyone got off safety. Ships can be replaced, human lives can’t.

  12. Hopefully the Norwegians will take this as a kick up the arse and order more ships. Maybe a few type 26s aka NATO standard frigate. They are a rich Nation with trillions in financial reserves. They can easily afford to man and run more than 3 active 4 in total frigate hulls.
    I would not get a Spanish vessel again. It looks like she broke her back at about 1/3 along the hull length from previous photos before she sank. Not salvageable just scrap value and currently a hazard to navigation. Really sad state of affairs.

    • Mainly due to personnel availability (or lack of) Norway has three in operation, one in maintenance and one available for training. They can probably subsist as a four frigate navy with a negligible loss in availability.

      If they did want to make up the loss with a new build it would make more sense to get another vessel from Navantia as they are still effectively marketing the type.

      Being pedantic the F100 and its sub variants have a better claim on being called the NATO standard Frigate class considering two NATO navies operate them. Australia which is not in NATO is in the curious position where it will operate both F100 and T26 variants. If the USN does select the F100 as its future FFG(X) then the debate is over.

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