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Loss of Norwegian frigate Helge Ingstad

Edward Campbell

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NavyShooter said:
As a navigation systems guy (W Eng SONAR background - we fix nav gear too) this article has given me cause to consider whether or not there were 'other factors' at play as well:

https://www.breitbart.com/europe/2018/11/13/russia-accused-of-jamming-gps-signals-during-major-nato-wargames/

Additionally, knowing how our GPS and other systems have performed in Vestfjorden once upon a time (I was summoned to the bridge by the NAVO 'at the double' because our ship's course/track on the SHINNADS system was not a line, it was a square-tooth wave pattern) I would be curious to see what the chart notes indicate about GPS performance in the area.

Our 'squaretooth track' was caused by interference from a large overhead high-voltage power cable that passed OVER the Fjord - and due to the angles/elevations of the mountains, we were not getting good satellite coverage anyhow. I read the chart notes - showed it to the NAVO, and he learned...

NS


And both are common problems ... the first, RF interference from non-traditional or unanticipated sources, is increasing as infrastructure develops everywhere, and the second, the limitations of satellite services in Northern (and Southern) latitudes, is well known (and taught) but is, unsurprisingly, sometimes a surprise to individual users who encounter it for the first time.
 

Underway

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E.R. Campbell said:
And both are common problems ... the first, RF interference from non-traditional or unanticipated sources, is increasing as infrastructure develops everywhere, and the second, the limitations of satellite services in Northern (and Southern) latitudes, is well known (and taught) but is, unsurprisingly, sometimes a surprise to individual users who encounter it for the first time.

There is a solution to all this.  LOOK OUT THE DAMN WINDOW!  This is why lighting is so important on ships.  Why fog signals and such are so important on ships.  Why a backup paper chart is so important and knowing how to do a visual fix.  There is no reason besides human error that this collision happened based on current information.  None.
 

dimsum

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Underway said:
There is a solution to all this.  LOOK OUT THE DAMN WINDOW!  This is why lighting is so important on ships.  Why fog signals and such are so important on ships.  Why a backup paper chart is so important and knowing how to do a visual fix.  There is no reason besides human error that this collision happened based on current information.  None.

Do ships have backup paper charts and is visual fixing still taught for pilotage?
 

Underway

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Dimsum said:
Do ships have backup paper charts and is visual fixing still taught for pilotage?

Yes.  Very much so.  HMCS TORONTO experienced a 5+ hour power outage off the coast of Ireland just last month.  Paper charts were definitely used.
 

FSTO

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Underway said:
Yes.  Very much so.  HMCS TORONTO experienced a 5+ hour power outage off the coast of Ireland just last month.  Paper charts were definitely used.

Good to hear!!
 

Colin Parkinson

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NavyShooter said:
As a navigation systems guy (W Eng SONAR background - we fix nav gear too) this article has given me cause to consider whether or not there were 'other factors' at play as well:

https://www.breitbart.com/europe/2018/11/13/russia-accused-of-jamming-gps-signals-during-major-nato-wargames/

Additionally, knowing how our GPS and other systems have performed in Vestfjorden once upon a time (I was summoned to the bridge by the NAVO 'at the double' because our ship's course/track on the SHINNADS system was not a line, it was a square-tooth wave pattern) I would be curious to see what the chart notes indicate about GPS performance in the area.

Our 'squaretooth track' was caused by interference from a large overhead high-voltage power cable that passed OVER the Fjord - and due to the angles/elevations of the mountains, we were not getting good satellite coverage anyhow.  I read the chart notes - showed it to the NAVO, and he learned...

NS

Several places on the west coast where this is evident, along with oddball magnetic variations spots. Going up the Fraser at 30kts in the fog at night in a Hovercraft, we knew the buoy under the powerlines would not show on the radar, along with any other targets. I was around for Loran C, early GPS, differential GPS and even had to learn Decca and plotting CPA's on a radar screen with grease pencils. 
 

Colin Parkinson

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Initial assessments are out, some possible watertight integrity concerns with the design/builder. https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2018/11/29/early-report-blames-confused-watchstanders-possible-design-flaws-for-norways-sunken-frigate/?utm_campaign=Socialflow+DFN&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&fbclid=IwAR2Vg1dhXHNqhwDYjuCN0dcJM7BAsvVlOmz0YlB5_8iY9MpOyVyaXE2l40w
 

Czech_pivo

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Colin P said:
Initial assessments are out, some possible watertight integrity concerns with the design/builder. https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2018/11/29/early-report-blames-confused-watchstanders-possible-design-flaws-for-norways-sunken-frigate/?utm_campaign=Socialflow+DFN&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&fbclid=IwAR2Vg1dhXHNqhwDYjuCN0dcJM7BAsvVlOmz0YlB5_8iY9MpOyVyaXE2l40w

From the link above:
"a pair of warnings that the issues that sunk Ingstad could also apply to other Navantia ships, raising questions about a widespread quality issue at the Spanish shipbuilder.

“The AIBN has found safety critical issues relating to the vessel’s watertight compartments,” the report reads. “This must be assumed to also apply to the other four Nansen-class frigates.

“It cannot be excluded that the same applies to vessels of a similar design delivered by Navantia, or that the design concept continues to be used for similar vessel models."

Isn't Navantia one of the three finalists for the Halifax replacement programme?

Haven't some recently speculated that if BAE Systems/Lockheed disqualified and the Dutch design penalized for launching the lawsuit  that Navantia might just squeak through as the winner?  We might want to be rethinking this in light of the above findings.....
 

Retired AF Guy

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This  Russian tweeter feed, besides having having some interesting shots of Russian military equipment, also has some imagery of the Norwegian attempts to recover the Helge Ingstad.

https://twitter.com/iren_maxx
 

chrisf

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Underway said:
Yes.  Very much so.  HMCS TORONTO experienced a 5+ hour power outage off the coast of Ireland just last month.  Paper charts were definitely used.

For what it's worth, in the civillian shipping world at least, ships can be exempt from carrying paper charts with the latest generation of ECDIS systems when appropriately redundant.
 

JMCanada

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Underway said:
4-6 watertight bulkheads if my guess is right.  Tough to survive that.  The progressive flooding would be to much for the crew to handle.  Brutal.

Going back to the preliminary report, I have read in some spanish forum:
https://www.boards2go.com/boards/board.cgi?action=read&id=1543582172.57417&user=morato

- the norwegian frigates were designed with a reinforced hull, bulkheads and watertight compartments to some extent as for some ice capabilities (no mention of the ice thickness) as well as to withstand mines from WWII.

- design and requisites were approved by norwegian authorities as well as by a british company hired by them as 3rd party (consultant). The frigates passed all tests to the satisfaction of both, who also scrutinized the whole manufacturing process.

- from the report: "The investigation is therefore demanding in terms of time and resources. The AIBN stresses that this is a preliminary report and that it may consequently contain some errors and inaccuracies. Because of considerations relating to the duty of confidentiality, classified material and the investigation process, the AIBN does not publish all its information at the present time."

- in any case, there are still 4 more Nansen frigates to be checked about tightening and maintenance. Once inspected, it could be determined if the lack of tightness is prior or subsequent to the collision.

In this newspaper we can find more (in spanish): https://www.abc.es/espana/abci-diseno-fragata-noruega-no-influyo-hundimiento-201812020257_noticia.html
[using google translator]: There is clear evidence that the initial damage was extended to four watertight compartments and indications that there could have been five really damaged in the collision, which exceeds the survival criteria of the design of the ship. "


I have to admit I might have some bias in favour of Navantia since I was born in Spain, that being said, I am a civilian only, passionate about warships and so, but in no way related to Navantia, never worked for them or subsidiaries.

Edited: I have removed the link because the picture is no longer there.

 

Cloud Cover

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Retired AF Guy said:
This  Russian tweeter feed, besides having having some interesting shots of Russian military equipment, also has some imagery of the Norwegian attempts to recover the Helge Ingstad.

https://twitter.com/iren_maxx

Really great pics in many aspects. The BUK launch sequence was instructive- made notes. Also, the night time air to air refuelling shots were quite well done.
Seems also that Syrian* Iranian SU22’s were refreshed and updated. Treasure trove, really.

*thanks JM.
 

Uzlu

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Spanish Shipyard Says Norwegian Navy 'Passes the Buck' Over Sunken Frigate

While the Norwegian Navy has taken urgent measures abroad for the peers of the sunken frigate KNM Helge Ingstad to prevent inundation, the Spanish shipyard that manufactured the hapless warship has accused the Norwegian authorities of looking for excuses.

Following an interim report by the Norwegian accident investigation commission, which blamed technical errors in waterproof bulkheads on board the KNM Helge Ingstad that sank after a collision with an oil tanker while returning from NATO drills, the Norwegian Navy has completed temporary measures to prevent rapid inundation of warships of the same class in the event of similar collisions, the tabloid daily Verdens Gang reported.

The Defence Material Agency said inflatable belts were installed as a temporary solution to seal the hollow propeller shaft in order to prevent water from entering the frigate's engine room in case of an emergency.

According to the report, which blamed the frigate's rapid sinking on a construction error, saltwater first penetrated the generator room of the KNM Helge Ingstad, before spreading to other rooms and finally reaching the engine room.

"All the [Nansen-class] frigates are built in the same way. The Navy has implemented interim measures on three out of four frigates", Steinar Nilsen, maritime chief at the Defence Material Agency told Verdens Gang.

The fourth frigate, the flagship KNM Fridjof Nansen is currently in the process of a major, planned maintenance. The vessel will receive inflatable belts when it is re-launched in April next year.

However, the claims of the warships being less waterproof than stated made the Spanish shipyard that manufactured the Nansen-class frigates, currently considered the backbone of the Norwegian Navy, see red.

"We have never received such complaints ever before. Not even once", Navantia Shipyard official and union leader Javier Galán told national Norwegian broadcaster NRK.

He dispelled the Norwegian Navy's allegations of a faulty construction of the propeller shaft being the culprit.

"Had the shaft leaked water in this way, it would have become obvious far earlier. Also, the frigate would have sunk long ago", Galán said.

According to him, the propeller shaft must have been damaged during the collision itself, which is the only explanation why water appeared between the sections altogether.

"Imagine you have a car. Even if it's a good one, it will run into problems if you crash it", Galán said.

Galán blamed erroneous navigation, venturing that the crew had misinterpreted the lights from the Maltese-flagged tanker Sola TS, mistaking it for solid land.

"I believe the only thing they are looking for is cop-outs. The way I see it, it's just passing the buck. The crew should have avoided the collision", Galán said.

Navantia issued a statement ensuring that the Nansen-class frigates shipped between 2006 and 2011 to the tune of NOK 21 billion ($2.5 billion), fulfilled all technical requirements before handed over to Norway. Meanwhile, Galán stressed that the accusations may lead to the company's reputation being damaged, which is the fifth-largest in Europe and ninth-largest internationally.

"We are an international company. And this makes a terrible damage, because it leaves an impression that we are unable to make ships. Even though we have been doing it for centuries", Galán said.

Navantia dates back to military shipyards established by the Spanish crown in 1730. Over centuries, it has gone through several name changes, the recent one in 2005. It is 100 percent owned by a government holding.
https://sputniknews.com/military/201812071070473716-norway-frigate-spain-shipyard/
 

Colin Parkinson

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Article on raising her with a link about the missiles being removed by navy divers https://forsvaret.no/presse/fregatt-i-sammenst%C3%B8t-med-annet-fart%C3%B8y/heving-helgeingstad
 

Uzlu

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Czech_pivo said:
From the link above:
"a pair of warnings that the issues that sunk Ingstad could also apply to other Navantia ships, raising questions about a widespread quality issue at the Spanish shipbuilder.

“The AIBN has found safety critical issues relating to the vessel’s watertight compartments,” the report reads. “This must be assumed to also apply to the other four Nansen-class frigates.

“It cannot be excluded that the same applies to vessels of a similar design delivered by Navantia, or that the design concept continues to be used for similar vessel models."

Isn't Navantia one of the three finalists for the Halifax replacement programme?

Haven't some recently speculated that if BAE Systems/Lockheed disqualified and the Dutch design penalized for launching the lawsuit  that Navantia might just squeak through as the winner?  We might want to be rethinking this in light of the above findings.....
If flawed, might it also be in the De Zeven Provinciën-class frigates?
The Netherlands, Germany and Spain set up the trilateral frigate agreement for the national construction of frigates. In addition to the De Zeven Provincien, the F100 (Alvaro de Bazan) is being built in Spain by Navantia and the F124 (Sachsen) built in Germany by ARGE F124 (Blohme and Voss, HDW and Thyssen Nordseewerke). The cooperation extends to the ship platform and not to the systems.
https://www.naval-technology.com/projects/dezeven/
 

FSTO

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The Norwegians have released a 3D representation of the collision.

https://www.vgtv.no/video/168039/se-den-unike-3d-videoen-av-da-knm-helge-ingstad-krasjet?jwsource=cl
 

Uzlu

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Underwater VIDEO Reveals HUGE Damage to 'Torn Apart' Norwegian Frigate

Norway's Defence Ministry has released underwater footage showing, for the first time, the extent of the damage to its frigate KNM Helge Ingstad, which sank after colliding with an oil tanker erroneously taken for an immobile object.

The footage, uploaded to Dropbox due to temporary website failures, was taken by a marine diving unit (MDK) normally used for planting and disarming underwater mines, ammunition and bombs. Its members have been diving around the mostly sunken wreckage of the frigate for weeks, removing ammunition, weapons and other hazardous material.

Previously, the damage to the hull of the frigate was believed to be a long gash in the starboard side. The footage taken from the depth of the Hjelte Fjord, where the vessel lies half-submerged, indicated that the damage is much worse than thought. The gash was estimated at around 45 metres long and eight metres high. By contrast, the tanker only suffered minor damage and is expected to become operative again by the end of December.

The video shows cabins and rooms smashed, flooring torn up and ventilation fans hanging from what's left of ceilings. The footage also shows what used to be the vessel's accommodation area, sleeping quarters, machine rooms and a generator room.

"It's really something to see one of our frigates lying under water", Commander Bengt Berdal, the leader of MDK, told Norwegian broadcaster NRK. "When we see the hull torn apart in this way, you can only imagine what it was like for those on board".

Berdal called it "sheer luck" that all 137 people on board the frigate survived the collision, with only a few sustaining minor injuries before successfully being evacuated in the early hours of 8 November.

Meanwhile, Rolf Ole Eriksen, former accident preparedness official for oil company Norske Shell and now a maritime security consultant, has penned a searing commentary in the newspaper Aftenposten. In Eriksen's own words, "only a miracle averted a gigantic catastrophe that had potential for large loss of life, fire, explosions and extensive pollution". The frigate was returning to its home port at Haakonsvern in Bergen after participating in NATO's huge drill Trident Juncture around Trondheim and was carrying weapons, ammunition, missiles and helicopter oil in addition to its fuel.

Eriksen was highly critical of the preliminary report released by Norway's accident investigation commission, venturing that the investigators were downplaying the severity of the collision between a fixture of the Norwegian Navy and fully loaded oil tanker, and clouding the responsibility. According to Eriksen, the responsibility lies with the crew on the bridge of the KNM Helge Ingstad, which the report was "under-communicating", he claimed. The frigate was sailing at a high speed of 17-18 knots, with its crew oblivious of their own whereabouts or the appearance of the tanker, which was sailing out of the Sture terminal in Øygarden northwest of Bergen.

"With its top modern radar and navigational equipment on board, the frigate was capable of following every movement of all vessels in the area", Eriksen wrote.

A more detailed and conclusive report may take months to be released. Meanwhile, the frigate lies mostly underwater. Around 350 people are now working every day in connection with the salvage of the frigate.

Commander Berdal calls the divers' work "challenging" and dependent on good weather. So far, the salvaging mission has been delayed several times by storms. The vessel won't be raised until 25 December at the earliest. The collision has cost the Norwegian Navy billions of kronor and resulted in the nation's maritime defence being greatly reduced.
https://sputniknews.com/military/201812171070749438-norway-frigate-damage-video/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=peQjN0LSsy8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfGVlpapvb8
 

Colin Parkinson

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private analysis of the collision https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/f-313-collision-facts-report-pedro-carrasco-pena?fbclid=IwAR3QsbWW5ky8q9LoKM22936N3DAXvW_lsuc7uhuyY-h0Uprtf0oZJ6YA4iY
 

Navy_Pete

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Thanks Colin,

Interesting analysis; would be interested to know the rationale into pushing her aground (as they seemed to be upright and fairly level when abandoning ship previously).  From the voice recordings, sounded more like they ran aground in a panic after getting run over by the big tanker they sailed in front of, which makes more sense if they had lost propulsion.  Would have thought they would have towed her alongside the jetty at the fuel station to stabilize it, but easy to play arm chair admiral I guess.
 
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