Norway aims to refloat Spanish-built frigate that sank after collision
File image of the Norwegian frigate KNM Helge Ingstad taking on water after a collision with the tanker Sola TS, in a fjord near Oygarden, Norway, Nov 8, 2018. . The KNM Helge Ingstad was returning back to Haakonsvern naval base, near Bergen, after participating in the NATO-led exercise Trident Juncture 2018 (TRJE18). EPA-EFE (FILE)/ MARIT HOMMEDAL NORWAY OUT
File image shows rescue workers (R) securing the Norwegian frigate KNM Helge Ingstad after a collision with the tanker Sola TS, in a fjord near Oygarden, Norway, taken Nov 10, 2018. The frigate nearly capsized in the accident on Nov 8. The KNM Helge Ingstad was returning back to Haakonsvern naval base, near Bergen, after participating in the NATO-led exercise Trident Juncture 2018 (TRJE18). EPA-EFE (FILE)/Marit Hommedal NORWAY OUT
File image shows Norway's Chief of Defence Haakon Bruun-Hanssen (R) and Navy Chief Nils Andreas Stensones (C) reading the preliminary report form the Accident Investigation Board Norway's report on the 'KNM Helge Ingstad' accident, before a media briefing in Oslo, Norway, Nov 29, 2018 to comment on the collision report detailing the collision between Norwegian Navy frigate and the tanker on Nov 8 2018 that caused the sinking of the warship. EPA-EFE (FILE)/HAAKON MOSVOLD LARSEN NORWAY OUT
File image shows the Norwegian frigate KNM Helge Ingstad partly under water in the sea near Bergen, western Norway, Nov 13 2018. The frigate capsized after colliding with the tank ship Sola TS on Nov 8, 2018. EPA-EFE (FILE)/MARIT HOMMEDAL NORWAY OUT
File image shows the heavy lift vessel, Rambiz, arriving to support the capsized Norwegian Navy frigate 'KNM Helge Ingstad' near Bergen, western Norway, Nov 27, 2018. The recovery operation has been put on hold due to bad weather. The frigate capsized after collision with tanker 'Sola TS', on Nov 8, 2018. EPA-EFE (FILE)/Marit Hommedal NORWAY OUT
Copenhagen, Jan 11 (efe-epa).- Norwegian authorities said Friday that, winter weather conditions permitting, they aimed to refloat a Spanish-built Norwegian Navy frigate that listed and sank in shallow waters after it had collided with a large tanker.
The 5,290-ton "KNM Helge Ingstad," a Nansen-class multi-role frigate of the Royal Norwegian Navy, with 137 persons on board, collided with 62,557 ton Malta-registered tanker Sola TS with a crew of 23 on board, near the Bergen (West) oil terminal.
The warship resulted severely damaged, lost its rudder and propulsion controls, began taking in water and listing before running aground.
A provisional report released Nov. 29 by the Accident Investigation Board Norway suggests the accident "was not caused by any single act or event" but by a series of "interacting complex factors and circumstances" culminating in the frigate being evacuated and abandoned as it took in water.
According to the initial AIBN report, the accident was caused by a series of confused visual (Aldiss lamp) and radio communications exchanges between the frigate, the tanker, and the oil terminal.
The warship remains semi-sunken in the Hjelte fjord, secured to land by tensors.
Bad weather conditions have hampered rescue operations which initially foresaw placing 16 large chains under its hull to refloat the frigate.
The rescue has been delayed further after the hull settled even deeper into the water.
A floating crane which the Norwegian Navy intended using to raise the ship onto a floating dock barge back to Haakonsvern's Naval yard had to leave the area last night due to worsening weather conditions; the crane is due to return today although next Sunday's weather forecast heralds even further delays.
Depending on the weather, the rescue operation could take from 5-6 days to two weeks, authorities said.
In addition, the AIBN issued an additional safety alert appendix stating it had found "safety critical issues relating to the vessel's watertight compartments" assuming it could also "apply to the other four Nansen-class frigates" which the Spanish shipbuilder Navantia has built in the past decade.
The AIBN said its findings were "not in conformity with the required damage stability standard for the Nansen class frigates," and has called for shipbuilder Navantia to "issue a notification to relevant shipbuilding yards, owners and operators, advising on necessary measures to address safety."
The "KNM Helge Ingstad" was returning to its home-port after participating in the "Trident Juncture 2018" NATO war games when it collided with the tanker, resulting in eight lightly injured sailors and the halting of oil terminal operations for a few hours.
Norway's Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, pointed out last Nov. her government would not enter any claims or liabilities against Navantia until the AIBN investigation was fully completed.