Helge Ingstad – the Final Report and Photographs
A salvage operation that began at 04.01 on the morning of Thursday 8 November is drawing to a close. After the arrival of the Norwegian Frigate Helge Ingstad in Haakonsvern Naval Station, late on Sunday 3 March, the work on what can be salvaged starts. The Norwegian Royal Navy and the Defence Ministry have reported that much of the valuable equipment that can be refurbished has already been taken off the vessel, according to Flaf Commander Thomas Wedervang, the head of Defence Maritime Material.
Now they have to debunker the vessel and remove any remaining weapons and ammunition, the heavy explosives were removed before the lift and detonated underwater far away from the vessel.
They will then have to see what the state of the vessel is, structurally, which will ultimately decide the eventual fate of this vessel. Specifically cut steel plates have already been ordered to cover the damaged section of the hull.
For the men involved in the complete salvage program there are mixed feelings. Pleased that the salvage and engineering project has been successfully completed by the arrival in Haaonsvern. Great sadness for the fact that a vital part of the Norwegian Navy has been ripped away. Finally, the relief expressed by Nils Andreas Stensønes, chief of the Navy, that the crew is in tact and that they are ready for new missions.
The Helge Ingstad crew will now return to sailing duties in a two-crew solution on the frigate KNM Otto Sverdrup, a sister vessel in the Nansen class of frigate. Thus, this frigate can sail continuously, and the Navy can thus maintain just as much sailing time as if they had had KNM Helge Ingstad in service.
“The need for frigates has not diminished, but by utilizing the Otto Sverdrup with two crews, we manage to deliver just as much in peacetime as we had done”, Stensønes points out. The Navy Commander continued with an expression of thanks to everybody both civilian and military who had worked on the demanding and complex operation.
Planning the operation had been carried out by the Defence Ministry and BOA, the salvage company. About 300 people had been involved who worked without personal injury and any significant environmental consequences.
“The operation has been carried out without significant environmental consequences. There was a small drop out on Hanøytangen one day, where some oil came into the coves and the coves close by. We have observed about a dozen seabirds with oil impact behavior, and we follow this up together with the Institute of Marine Research,” says Johan Marius Ly, emergency response director at the Norwegian Coastal Administration.
The Armed Forces personnel are working to clear the sea and the seabed at the location of the salvage operation. The Armed Forces are also supporting the police and the AIBN with the investigation of the accident. In addition, the Armed Forces have initiated an internal investigation to learn most possible from events, and prevent any such incident happening again.
Source – Royal Norwegian Navy and Photographs courtesy of Bendik Skogli