Fully 53 of 88 applicable safety rules and “barriers” were broken before one of Norway’s five frigates collided with an oil tanker near its home port nearly two years ago. The Norwegian defense department’s own report also noted that the crew on the bridge of the KNM Helge Ingstad had little experience.
“Even though all technical navigational assistance was in working order and functioned, and all mandatory posts on the bridge were staffed,” reads the report released Tuesday, the tanker Sola TS was not identified in time as a vessel moving towards the frigate as it left a local refinery fully laden and bound for the UK.
Defense officials went through all 88 regulations meant to hinder such a collision, and concluded that 53 were broken. Details weren’t revealed, reportedly to shield those responsible. As in earlier investigations of the collision in the busy waters of the Hjeltefjorden northwest of Bergen, right near a large oil refinery, no single error was found that set off the collision but rather a long string of them.
There was also “too little experience and competence among the crew and weak coordination among them.” Even though the crew on the tanker sent out repeated warnings and frantically asked the frigate to turn, communication between the two vessels was described as “imprecise” and the frigate’s crew simply didn’t grasp the looming danger. The captain of the frigate was not on the bridge in the early morning hours when the collision occurred on November 8, 2018. The frigate later sank slowly after all crew and officers on board had to abandon ship.
Naval officials vowed to learn from their mistakes, which have proven very costly for Norwegian taxpayers. The vessel was valued at around NOK 5 billion, would cost much more than that to replace, and is now being scrapped.