Norwegian Safety Investigation Authority issued its second investigation report of the collision between the frigate HNoMS Helge Ingstad and the oil tanker Sola TS.
HNoMS ‘Helge Ingstad’ was pushed towards the shore by the tugboats.amely, the part two report contains the results of the Safety Investigations Authority’s investigation of the sequence of events from the time of the collision up until
As explained, the investigation has shown that a number of factors contributed to the incident.
- The incident
To remind, it was back in November 2018, when the frigate HNoMS Helge Ingstad, with 137 conscripts and permanent crew on board, and the tanker Sola TS, with 24 people on board and operated by the Greek shipping company Tsakos Columbia Shipmanagement (TCM) S.A. collided in the Hjeltefjord.
Namely, the collision caused considerable damage to the frigate, and for a period it was unclear whether anyone had died. What had happened, the scope of damage to the frigate and whether it would sink were also not clear.
During the period between the collision and the grounding, the bridge crew were under the impression that neither steering nor propulsion could be controlled from the bridge.
Other stress factors included the collision forces and the frigate’s angle of heel, damage to communication equipment on board, and the concurrent triggering of a number of alarms.
It was also dark, and the accident happened at an hour when most of the crew were asleep. The situation was more complicated and unpredictable than anything the crew had been trained to handle. The navigators on the bridge believed they had tried every option available to stop the frigate before she ran aground, but to no effect.
HNoMS ‘Helge Ingstad’ sustained major damage in the collision and concurrent flooding of several compartments. Given the crew’s knowledge at the time, the NSIA considers it understandable that a decision was taken there and then to evacuate rather than put human life and health at risk.
Calculations carried out by the NSIA afterwards have nonetheless shown that the frigate could have been prevented from sinking, had she been shut down before she was evacuated.
Stability calculations also show that the grounding was not a decisive factor in causing the frigate to sink, as the failure to shut down the frigate would have caused her to sink in any case.
Further efforts to prevent the ship from sinking and prioritisation of the right measures could have helped to gain control of the ingress of water.
The NSIA believes that consideration of alternative actions to those that were taken would have required further competence, instruction and training of the crew and better decision support tools than those that were available.
- Safety recommendations
The investigation of this marine accident has identified 28 areas in which the Norwegian Safety Investigation Authority deems it necessary to submit safety recommendations for the purpose of improving safety.
Safety recommendation MARINE No 2021/14T
Royal Norwegian Navy should ensure that the frigate crews have a decision support tool available on board so as to be able to assess the ship’s damage stability and survivability in any situation of damage.
Safety recommendation MARINE No 2021/15T
Royal Norwegian Navy should strengthen its competence in damage stability and determine what members of the frigate crews shall have key roles relating to intact and damage stability.
Safety recommendation MARINE No 2021/16T
Royal Norwegian Navy should strengthen the frigate crews’ awareness and competence relating to the importance of shutting down the vessel to maintain her watertight integrity and survivability when damaged.
Safety recommendation MARINE No 2021/17T
The Royal Norwegian Navy, in cooperation with the Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency, should define the scenarios in which portable bilge pumps can be expected to have an effect, and implement measures to maintain watertight integrity while also ensuring effective damage control.
Safety recommendation MARINE No 2021/18T
Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency should consider how relevant rules and regulations can be developed to better meet requirements for watertight integrity in combination with operational requirements.
Safety recommendation MARINE No 2021/19T
Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency should review established routines and methods for verification of watertightness to ensure control of the watertight integrity of the vessel.
Safety recommendation MARINE No 2021/20T
Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency, in cooperation with the Royal Norwegian Navy, review all design assumptions and take steps as necessary to ensure that these assumptions hold true during operation.