Amid their investigation of the Norwegian frigate KMN Helge Ingstad, which sank after NATO drills while formally under the alliance’s command, experts have warned that the vessel’s four sister ships in the Norwegian navy all suffer from the same defects and want answers from the Spanish shipyard that built them.
An interim report presented by the investigation committee looking into the circumstances of the KMN Helge Ingstad’s collision with a tanker on November 8 includes several ‘safety-critical’ findings, Norwegian national broadcaster NRK reported.
First, the human factor was considered, as the frigate’s crew is believed to have mistaken the tanker Sola TS for a ‘stationary object’.
Second and perhaps even more important, the commission identified ‘safety-critical’ conditions that must be ‘immediately taken care of’. According to the report, the ship’s three ‘watertight’ sections were filled with significantly more water than the extent of the damage, a 10-meter-long gash on the starboard side, would suggest. Propeller shafts were found to have leaked water to the machinery room, which was quickly filled up. From there, water filled other rooms in the hull.
Former flag commander Jacob Børresen described the discovery of a possible error in the frigate’s watertight sections as sensational.
‘I want to characterise this as a dramatic discovery. In the event of an accident or collision this means that the ship is much more vulnerable than the…