Doesn’t rule out demand from Spanish shipyard
Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg (Conservatives) does not rule out that claims for compensation can be made after finding major design flaws in all five of Norway’s Spanish built Frigates.
The Prime Minister commented on Friday the announcement that the Norwegian Accident Commission has found flaws on all frigates of the «Nansen» class in the wake of the floundering of KNM «Helge Ingstad».
– We do not possess Frigates with the classification that we presumed, the Prime Minister states.
She is biding her time, but not rejecting the question of claiming damages from the Spanish Navantia wharf. But first, experts need to find out where the design flaw originates, and the Armed Forces must review the contracts and specifications that apply to the Frigates.
– We do not possess an overview of any of this at present. We must go through this in legal terms and will keep open if claims for compensation are in the cards when the time is ripe. First of all, we have to figure out where in the process these design flaws have been made, she continues.
One of the reasons why the frigate sunk so fast is that large amounts of water moved between the watertight bulkheads via the hollow propeller shafts. This weakened the vessel’s stability. Due to the rapid water penetration after the collision was KNM Helge Ingstad evacuated. It subsequently sank 900 metres outside the Sture Terminal ten minutes after the collision with the tanker.
Spanish Navantia delivered all the five Norwegian Frigates of the «Nansen» class in the period 2003 to 2010. The total price tag of the controversial acquisition was NOK 21 billion. How much money the rescue mission after the shipwreck and the repairs of the other Frigates will amount to, neither the Armed Forces nor anyone in the Government wishes to comment on.
– I don’t know how much we are talking about, but we are short of a Frigate, and that can be expensive to replace, Solberg answers.
So far, NOK 50 million in extra funding has been allocated to the salvage operation.
Weakened defence capability
After the floundering, questions are raised whether Norway’s defence capacity is weakened. The predicament has been reinforced by the fact that all the Norwegian Frigates have the same critical design flaw. The Norwegian Navy has taken interim measures to ensure that the four remaining Frigates stay operational.
– A Frigate less in operational service is not critical to Norwegian defence capabilities in the short term. In the long run, we have to ensure that we have a Navy that has enough capacity for it to perform, the Norwegian Minister of Defence, Frank Bakke-Jensen, tells NTB.
KNM Helge Ingstad was a part of NATO’s standing Atlantic force when it capsised. When asked whether Norway’s contribution to NATO cooperation is affected by the accident, the Cabinet Minister replies that it may be possible to compensate for the loss with other resources.
-We can contribute to NATO in other ways perhaps. We’ll see what kind of solutions exist, Bakke-Jensen concludes.
See the graphics of what happened here.
© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today