Part 1 - Update
LATEST: The frigate "Helge Ingstad" has sunk
Some of the wire mooring apparently broke overnight, resulting in the frigate ‘slipping’ further under the sea. Video
Any salvage operation is likely to be aesthetic in nature rather than sn trying to raise the wreck for parts.
Seawater damage will take its toll on machinery and equipment, especially the AEGIS radar system.
Likewise for the aviation fuel damage to ship and environment.
All of this because of an OOW bridge watchkeeper onboard lost total situational awareness (speed is a factor imho) in a head-on encounter with an Aframax tanker. The 3-way radio conversations is telling: listen here (with English subtitles
Re the radio conversation
: a short extract is presented here:
Sola TS calls the frigate to get ID
T: Is that you coming?
F:Yes that’s correct
T: Turn starboard immediately F: Then we will too close to the obstacles
T: Turn starboard if that’s you coming you have... (on tanker bridge in background another voice is heard in English: NOW!)
The bit underlined here is of interest, as it gives a hint of the navigational context. So here are electronic charts extracts of the area, to see the depth of the water and the obstacles.
The oil terminal is at the bottom, with some of the danger obstacles (note depth marked) highlighted in grey. ( The depth indicated is to the chart datum - the lowest depth [lowest astronomical tide]. Hence ordinarily there would be more clearance (under the keel). To note that the frigate had a draft of
Someone has got some explaining to do. Here is the radar and radio log
From VTS up to the collision and afterwards:" </div>">https://
Although the Helge Ingstad was not on AIS, the frigate is clearly seen on radar going southbound at approximately 17 knots.
The ‘Sola TS’ tanker is heard to ask what was the vessel that was approaching at 17 kts, VTS answers saying it could be ‘Helge Ingstad’. Sola TS then got onthe radio to get confirmation. The ‘Sola TS’ then hailed the frigate asking for 1. Course change starboard turn) then
2. a port-to-port passage. The frigate turned this down saying it was close to shore.
The ‘Sola TS’ stated over the radio that a collision is going to happen, telling the frigate to turn starboard. Short afterwards Sola TS confirmed that it had collided. Listening to the radio
communications, there seemed to be some uncertainty on the frigate bridge.
The lines projecting from the red marks show the headings.
From a mariner’s perspective, the golden rule is pass port to port. Clearly this wasn’t going to happen with the Helge Ingstad. But the Sola TS was big, the size of an aircraft carrier, and it is not as manoeuvrable as a CODAG powered frigate.
I can’t grasp the conversation, except for starboard being mentioned and VTS asking how many people were onboard on both vessels after the collision. VTS is speaking to the oil terminal pilot in this situation. Hence the slight delay in replying. Another point to make re pilots and foreign crews re bridge communications. The seconds add up.
In this situation, COLREGS apply, so I’m guessing that the frigate thought that the tanker would move out of the way. But the recording suggest (to me) some more inadequate radio procedure on the part of the frigate, to simply ask the tanker’s course intentions! Then take action to slow down and alter course in good time.
"> According to the Daily Mail, </a>Vessel Traffic Service (VTS who are tasked with monitoring and advising ships in their zone) called the frigate on VHF to warn them them that they were on a collision course with the tanker, Sola TS, who also apparently alerted the frigate.
The radio alerts were reported to be from from the Coastal Maritime Traffic Center Fedje VTS.
MIGHT is RIGHT. (As I outline further down in this article). This is also surmised by this thread
This is beginning to have echoes of what happened
to the USS Fitzgerald and the USS J McCain last summer.
have started to secure the frigate to the land with attachment points welded to the hull with wires ashore. Once the frigate is secured, holes will be sealed. Afterwards the vessel will be sent to a naval base (on heavylift ship?)for repairs.
It does look like the frigate has gone further under the water though since yesterday. Details and latest photos
(10 Nov update)
Not looking good for #NorwayNavy
frigate ‘Helge Ingstad’ (F313) which was sinking rapidly for a while (live on TV no less). Now seems to be grounded and with a potentially difficult salvage operation to get the frigate off safely (eventually).
Reports came in this morning on a collision between the frigate and an oil tanker in Western Norwegian waters not far from Bergen, close to Øygarden. The frigate was subsequently ran aground
from Coastguard helicopter of grounded frigate. How long will the structure / keel hold in place?Timeline of event:
Sola TS AIS and Tenax tug.
The frigate ‘Helge Ingstad‘ did not activate AIS until after the collision. To note AIS is no substitute for COLREG application and prudent seamanship in any situation.
Just as well as Sola TS was only doing 5.7 -6 knots at time. The damage to the tanker was slight, with loss of anchor it seems judging by this photo.Update: Norwegian navy reported in press conference that loss of propulsion and control was the result of the collision.
Yikes. Timing. At night, no AIS active on frigate, close proximity of major oil terminal, with lumbering laden tanker coming up from behind in narrow space. Not good at all.
A Aframax tanker:
“Sola TS displaces more than a US Aircraft Carrier.”
Think about that for a minute.AIS tracks
AIS show location and ships involved in the SAR ops. It also shows the Maltese-registered Aframax tanker involved, MV ‘Sola TS’ The ‘Helge Ingstad’ (F313) didn’t have AIS activated at time, judging by the straight line that goes over land. AIS was only after the collision. (Ermmmmm)...
The Tsakos tanker however did have AIS active all of the time, you can actually see the point where the incident happened.
The ‘Sola TS’ had a tug escort, the ‘Tenax’. Check out the AIS track:
So the Sola TS was more than likely to be under restricted ability to manoeuvre, with the appropriate lights on the mast to show (??!!!!!). The rescue
Photos and video taken by the Norwegian SAR boats
on scene show an orderly evacuation, with crew in their immersion suits and liferafts launched alongside the frigate down by the stern. One can only imagine if there were damage control teams trying valiantly to save their ship.Frigate being deliberately grounded:
Photos of frigate aground with extensive damage (gash ripped out) to starboard quarter.⚠️
The consolation is no fatalities occurred but 8 injuries reported.
Live direct: https://www.nrk.no/hordaland/fregatt-og-tankskip-kollidert-_-stor-redningsaksjon-1.14284176Shut-down of oil & gas infrastructure
The whole incident has taken on a greater dimension with shut-down of oil & gas ops: Expensively so.
Due to the location of the grounding, the nearby oil terminal operations
were stopped at the Sture terminal. Other oil and gas operations were also shut down
in the area as a direct consequence of the frigate’s grounding. This includes oilfields
apparently, back upstream from the terminal.
This is getting eye-wateringly expensive. NATO exercise
This is rather unfortunate: last press release of Norwegian MoD
as it took part in the recent massive NATO exercise Trident Juncture.Opinion
COLREG rules applied wrongly (??)Certainly too early to meaningfully speculate at any length this stage. BUT...
This is intriguing, what exactly was HNoMS ‘Helge Ingstad’ (no AIS) doing when a collision took place with the Sola TS oil tanker? The tanker had loaded & just departed the Sture terminal in Øygarden, and had a tug escort ‘Tenax’( standard procedure for oil terminal (un)docking. Presumably, this was announced on marine radio too.
(You can actually see the terminal behind the sinking frigate!!!!!).
None of the 625,000 barrels of crude oil onboard on the Sola TS has spilled. But there is evident oil spill (apparently 10000 litres of helicopter fuel) judging by this video still:
Talking about “sound navigational practice” (quoting US Navy accident report).
Getting hit starboard side not auspicious start. A naval bridge has far more people on duty than a commercial tanker, (which if fully loaded) would have been ‘restricted in ability to manoeuvre’ especially in a channel. Certainly so compared to a 5,290 ton CODAG (diesel & gas turbined) frigate. The only case I can think of is if the frigate was under RAM or NUC (Not under Command) too or at anchor.
Just the simple fact of anchoring off or even exercising in the close vicinity of an oil terminal would in my book a rather dim thing to do (for any mariner).
Big ships will not stop so quickly if the ‘Helge Ingstad‘ had power failure and was close ahead. You can actually see on AIS how long it took to slow down.
Big ships do not turn or stop very well, especially laden and especially with a tug attached. That’s a 3 ship accident.
Low speed of tanker ( AIS show between 5 and 7kts just after collision) means the lower speed they travel, the less manoeuvrable they are due to the effects of propeller wash against the rudder.
What is plenty of underwater hull clearance for a frigate isn’t the same as for an Aframax tanker, where it was roughly twice that of the ‘Helge Ingstad‘. All of us little ship mariners have installed: big is mighty and give them a wide berth (especially with tug escorts attached to them!).
Everyone has radar, ECDIS and merchant ships like AIS. Awareness of big commercial operations off oil terminal usually dictates prudence, give wide berth and let the big ship pass. Wariness of movement and intentions is paramount.
There is some dumb stuff on social media putting foward Russian GPS jamming. Either they are totally misinformed or are being misleading in a crass way. This Twitter
thread is useful to note:
“ GPS Jamming did not cause the collision of the #helgeingstad
. Even if GPS was jammed, the Russians can't jam your eyeballs. Cyber is also highly unlikely, as all those steering systems will have a manual backup.“
Well 2 accident investigations have been opened, one civil and the other military. Plus the Maltese authorities for the ‘Sola TS’.