«I Come from the Navy, I know nothing»

Frigate KNM «Helge Ingstad» NavyThe High Commander of the Norwegian Navy still does not know what happened when the Frigate KNM «Helge Ingstad» was wrecked. Photo: Cornelius Poppe / NTB scanpix

«I Come from the Navy, I know nothing,» says Navy Chief

More than a week after the Navy rammed one of its five frigates into a 250 metre long and 44 metres wide  (Aframax) oil tanker at 17 knots, the Norwegian Navy Chief still doesn’t know what went wrong.


– We have chosen not to question the crew because we do not wish to influence them. Of course, they talk to our psychologists and religious counsellors. But they have a duty of confidentiality, so they don’t relay what they are told, Rear Admiral and Navy Chief, Nils Andreas Stensønes, tells NRK.

The Navy has given the Norwegian Accident Commission (NAC) and the police access to the data logs and the crew of the Frigate, KNM «Helge Ingstad». They will carry out their own investigation at a later stage, according to Stensønes. He claims that the Navy wants an «open and honest process regarding the matter», but says that the Norwegian Navy will not go public before they possess a «complete picture».

Navigational training

NATO reports that the Frigate conducted navigational training when the collision occurred. KNM «Helge Ingstad» was on its way back to the Norwegian Navy’s main base, Haakonsvern – on the outskirts of Bergen – while participating in the NATO exercise, «Trident Juncture».

The Rear Admiral does not want to comment on whether there was a special exercise underway when the incident occurred.

– Yes, there was time set aside for navigational training. That is routine. There is a time-slot available to the Commanding Officer. Exactly what the vessel was doing at that point in time, the investigation and the Norwegian Accident Commission must come back to when they have obtained an overview of the situation, says Stensønes.

Affected by the incident

The 137 members of the crew were evacuated from the Frigate after the collision. Eight of them suffer from minor injuries. Two were dispatched to Haukeland University Hospital and the remaining six to the emergency room for treatment.

The crew was severely affected by the incident and was subsequently taken care of at a reception centre at Haakonsvern.

No idea how many were on the bridge

– Do you know how many persons were on the bridge of «Helge Ingstad» when the collision occurred?
– No.
– Are we to believe that the leadership of the Navy hasn’t discussed this internally and hasn’t even got any theories on what occurred?
– We, like everybody else, pay attention [to the matter] and ponder – that is completely unavoidable. But we have experience that the initial information that you receive about such an event is at best, incomplete. Therefore, it is important that we obtain a complete picture as possible before we draw any conclusions, Stensønes replies.

Eight days have passed since the Watch Officer on the bridge ignored pleas from the tanker to slow down and steer starboard, leading to the starboard aft of the multi-billion Frigate torn to tatters by the 28 times heavier tanker.
Crew – some coming within a hairs breath of death – had their cabins wrecked. Water was pouring in through the large gush below the waterline.

Stensønes says he has talked to the entire crew of KNM «Helge Ingstad»

– It makes an impression to talk to young, upstanding persons who have experienced something like this, the Navy High Commander rounds of.


Video from NRK of the sinking Frigate.


© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today