Naval Warfare

Norway Sues DNV Certification Office over Sunken Frigate


Norway Sues DNV Certification Office over Sunken Frigate

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The Norwegian Armed Forces have assumed that the registrar and classification society DNV GL is responsible for the collapse of the KNM Helge Ingstad in late 2018 and demands NOK 15 billion ($1.6 billion) in compensation. In 2017, DNV GL (formerly known as Veritas) gave the KNM Helge Ingstad a new class certificate, valid until 2021. The approval came after a 5-year inspection carried out in 2016. Additionally, another lawsuit has been filed against the owner of the Maltese-flagged tanker Sola TS, which collided with the Ingstad, but unlike the lost frigate emerged with repairable injuries and is back in service.

Last year, the Accident Investigation Board Norway concluded, among other things, that the training of the bridge crew of the frigate was deficient. However, it also concluded that water from the generator compartment penetrated into the gear compartment through hollow propeller shafts. The Armed Forces believes that DNV GL should have revealed this in advance. The Helge Ingstad collided with the tanker Sola TS in November 2018 while heading back from a major NATO exercise, Trident Juncture, the worst accident of its kind in Norwegian waters in decades. The leaked water made the damage more extensive and led to the decision for the crew to prepare for evacuation.

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Royal Norwegian Navy HNoMS Helge Ingstad (F313)
Royal Norwegian Navy HNoMS Helge Ingstad (F313)

HNoMS Helge Ingstad was a Fridtjof Nansen-class frigate of the Royal Norwegian Navy. Named for Helge Ingstad, a Norwegian explorer, the Fridjtof Nansen class are capable of anti-air, anti-submarine and surface warfare. On 8 November 2018, HNoMS Helge Ingstad collided with the tanker Sola TS in Norwegian waters just outside Sture Terminal. Helge Ingstad was severely damaged in the collision and beached. On 13 November 2018, the ship sank where she had run aground and became a constructive total loss. She was raised in a salvage operation from 27 February 2019 to 3 March 2019. In June 2019 after it was deemed uneconomical to repair her, it was decided that she would be scrapped.

The Accident Investigation Board Norway (AIBN) and the Defence Accident Investigation Board Norway (DAIBN) immediately began a joint investigation, with the involvement of the Marine Safety Investigation Unit of Malta. On 29 November 2018 the AIBN published their preliminary accident report together with two interim safety recommendations. It recommended that the Norwegian military authorities investigate the findings of the preliminary report with a view to implementing any necessary safety measures, and that the shipbuilder Navantia investigate relevant aspects of the design of the frigate and whether other ships might be similarly affected. The watertight condition of the ship was supposedly guaranteed by the 13 watertight bulkheads.

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