The operational consequences of KNM Helge Ingstad's accident on November 8, 2018 are substantial. The Government has decided on temporary measures. The material damage that the frigate suffered is considerable, and so far the work on securing and raising her has cost just under NOK 500 million.
The accident has significant operational consequences. With one of five frigates out of service, the Armed Forces' operational capability has been reduced, and the ability to maintain a presence in priority areas is weakening over time.
The Government is concerned that the operational ability should be re-established. The Armed Forces have already implemented measures to reduce the operational consequences. Among other things, one of the remaining frigates will sail with a double crew; This means that planned sailing days for the frigate flotilla are maintained in a short-term perspective of one to two years.
Acquire lost equipment
The Government has identified further measures that can be implemented in the short term. This includes reproducing lost spare parts and doubling the number of crews on the KNM Maud logistics vessel from one to two. The latter will increase the ability to support the frigates, which in turn extends the vessels' operational availability. Maud, who is scheduled to arrive in Norway in the middle of the year, will also increase the capacity to contribute to international operations.
The weapon holdings on board were part of Norway's emergency stock, and the government is considering whether they will also be replaced. Such a replacement will be considered in the budgets for the coming years.
However, these measures will not restore the operational ability at the level it was before the loss of Ingstad. If it should not prove possible or economically appropriate to repair the ship, alternative permanent measures will therefore have to be implemented. These assessments have already been undertaken.
Raising depends on weather conditions
The costs associated with the work on raising and transporting the frigate are characterized by many uncertainties. The weather is the biggest challenge, and bad weather has been the main cause of the delays. In order to carry out the raising as planned, sufficiently stable, good weather is needed over a period of one week.
The timing for the actual raising, and thus also for the entire salvage operation, is therefore uncertain.
After raising, security measures for equipment and materials that can be reused will be immediately implemented. When this work is completed and the vessel is secured, it will be transported to the Navy's main base at Haakonsvern, where further inspections and assessments of the extent of the damage will be carried out.
In consultation with the classification company Det Norske Veritas, temporary measures have been implemented on the other frigates in order to safeguard the vessels’ 'waterproof integrity and ensure their seaworthiness.
These measures prevent the transfer of water between the relevant watertight sections, and thus correct the safety-critical conditions. Work has also been initiated which will provide a permanent remedy for the deficiencies.
A permanent solution is planned to be installed on all frigates by March this year.