Helge Ingstad in 2010
|Namesake||Norwegian explorer Helge Ingstad|
|Ordered||23 June 2000|
|Laid down||28 April 2006|
|Launched||23 November 2007|
|Commissioned||29 September 2009|
|Decommissioned||24 June 2019|
|Stricken||13 November 2018|
|Fate||Sold for scrap, awaiting disposal|
|Notes||Boa barge 33 carrying Helge Ingstad arrived at the Haakonsvern naval base on 3 March 2019|
|Class and type||Fridtjof Nansen-class frigate|
|Displacement||5,290 long tons (5,370 t)|
|Length||133.2 m (437 ft 0 in)|
|Beam||16.8 m (55 ft 1 in)|
|Draft||7.6 m (24 ft 11 in)|
|Speed||26 knots (48 km/h)|
|Range||4,500 nautical miles (8,300 km)|
|Electronic warfare |
|Terma DL-12T decoy launcher, Loki torpedo countermeasure|
|Aircraft carried||1 × NH90 helicopter|
HNoMS Helge Ingstad was a Fridtjof Nansen-class frigate of the Royal Norwegian Navy. The vessel was ordered on 23 June 2000 and constructed by Navantia in Spain. The ship was launched on 23 November 2007 and commissioned on 29 November 2009. Named for Helge Ingstad, a Norwegian explorer, the Fridjtof Nansen class are capable of anti-air, anti-submarine and surface warfare. On 8 November 2018, HNoMS Helge Ingstad collided with the tanker Sola TS in Norwegian waters just outside Sture Terminal. Helge Ingstad was severely damaged in the collision and beached. On 13 November 2018, the ship sank where she had run aground and became a constructive total loss.
She was raised in a salvage operation from 27 February 2019 to 3 March 2019. In June 2019 after it was deemed uneconomical to repair her, it was decided that she would be scrapped.
The design of the Fridtjof Nansen-class frigates began in 1997. Based on the Alvaro de Bazan-class design, Izar (later Navantia) of Spain and Lockheed Martin were chosen to construct the vessel. The class is designed for operational flexibility with each ship capable of anti-air, anti-submarine and surface warfare. This was done to allow vessels of the class to operate with more ease in international operations. The Fridtjof Nansen-class frigates measure 133.2 m (437 ft 0 in) long overall with a beam of 16.8 m (55 ft 1 in) and a draught of 4.9 m (16 ft 1 in). The frigates have a standard displacement of 5,290 long tons (5,370 t).
The frigates are propelled by one 1,360-horsepower (1,010 kW) bow thruster and two controllable pitch propellers powered by a CODAG system with one GE LM2500 gas turbine rated at 26,112 hp (19,472 kW) and two Bazán Bravo 12V diesel engines rated at 12,240 hp (9,130 kW). This gives the frigates a maximum speed of 26 knots (48 km/h; 30 mph) and a range of 4,500 nautical miles (8,300 km; 5,200 mi) at 16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph). The ships are fitted with a landing pad for one NH90 helicopter.
The class are armed with an octuple launcher for Kongsberg Naval Strike Missiles for surface warfare. The launcher is located amidships, behind the forward superstructure. For anti-air warfare, the Fridjtof Nansens are equipped with an octuple American Mk 41 vertical launch system for 32 RIM-162 ESSM surface-to-air missiles located ahead of the forward superstructure and aft the single-mounted 76 mm (3 in) OTO Melara Super Rapid gun. The ships also mount two twin-mounted 324 mm (12.8 in) torpedo tubes for Sting Ray torpedoes, each mount slotted amidships on either side of the aft superstructure. The frigates also mount depth charges, four 12.7 mm (0.50 in) Browning M2HB heavy machine guns, four Protector (RWS) (Sea PROTECTOR) and two Long Range Acoustic Devices.
For sensors, the frigates are equipped with a Lockheed Martin AN/SPY-1F 3-D multi-function radar, Reutech RSR 210N air/sea surveillance radar, Sagem VIGY 20 electro-optical director, MRS 2000 hull-mounted sonar, Captas MK II V1 active/passive towed sonar and two Mark 82 fire-control radar. The Fridjtof Nansen class use the Aegis combat system and Link 11 and is fitted for Link 16/22 combat data systems. For signal defence, the class operates the Terma DL-12T decoy launcher and Loki torpedo countermeasure systems.  The vessels have a complement of over 120 personnel.
The ship was ordered for construction on 23 June 2000 by Norway and built by the Spanish shipbuilders Navantia at Ferrol, Spain. The vessel was the fourth of the Fridtjof Nansen class to be constructed, and was laid down on 28 April 2006. Construction had been delayed by disputes over quality control. The frigate was launched on 23 November 2007 and named for the Norwegian explorer Helge Ingstad. Helge Ingstad was commissioned in the Royal Norwegian Navy on 29 September 2009.
From December 2013 to May 2014, Helge Ingstad was one of the escort ships for merchant vessels carrying chemical weapons from Syria to be destroyed. In August 2017, she joined Exercise Saxon Warrior off the coast of Scotland, escorting the aircraft carriers HMS Queen Elizabeth of the Royal Navy and USS George H. W. Bush of the United States Navy.
On 8 November 2018, while returning from a NATO exercise, she was navigating inshore waters north of Bergen at speeds of up to 17.4 knots (32.2 km/h; 20.0 mph). Starting from around 03:40 there was a watch handover on board Helge Ingstad, during which three oncoming vessels were noted. After radio communication was established, and upon being asked to alter course to starboard, to avoid the 250-metre (820 ft), 112,939 t, Maltese-flagged oil tanker Sola TS, escorted by VSP Tenax, which had just left its berth, Helge Ingstad believed the vessel calling them to be one of the oncoming vessels they were tracking on radar. Assuming the tanker, slow moving and with its bright deck lights obscuring its navigation lights, to be part of the shore installation, the frigate intended passing it before altering course moving near her starboard channel margin. By the time they realised their error they were within 400 metres (440 yd) of Sola TS and it was too late to avoid a collision. Preben Ottesen, the ship's commanding officer, stated that he was asleep in his cabin when the collision happened, and was in fact woken by the collision.
The collision caused severe damage to Helge Ingstad, which lost control of engine and steering, with a large breach along her side from the starboard torpedo launchers to the stern. The vessel grounded and continued to take on water, through the propeller shaft and stuffing boxes. Seven sailors were injured in the incident. By late morning she had developed a severe list to starboard with most of the stern submerged. Despite damage control efforts the vessel sank in the early hours of 13 November, with only small sections of the superstructure remaining above water. The failure of the vessel's watertight integrity led to an immediate safety alert to designers Navantia, calling on them to advise operators of similar vessels on any necessary measures to address safety, however, a possible design flaw at Navantia was dismissed, as the accident report points to a succession of human failures. This is the first incident of such scale in the Royal Norwegian Navy since 1994, when HNoMS Oslo was lost after it ran aground.
Unlike Helge Ingstad, Sola TS only suffered minor damages in its front and was never in danger of sinking. She was able to continue to her destination after the incident. The tanker subsequently sailed to a shipyard in Gda?sk for repairs and was back in regular service by late December 2018.
Following the frigate's sinking, a local fish farming company, which had had to move fish from the area due to spill of diesel oil from the vessel, claimed one million kroner (US$ 116,000) in damages from the Ministry of Defence.
The Norwegian Navy inspected Helge Ingstad by the Norwegian Blueye Pioneer underwater drone. Poor weather hampered salvage operations through December 2018; with the planned date to raise the ship being delayed until late January 2019.
The lifting operation began on 26 February 2019. On 27 February 2019, due to weather concerns, the partially raised ship was moved to a location which is better protected from the elements, where further salvage work took place. The ship and the two heavy lift vessels (Rambiz and Gulliver) reached the Semco Maritime yard at Hanøytangen on 28 February 2019. Boarding parties consisting of some 300 people, including around 100 members of Helge Ingstads original crew, assisted in pumping out the remaining water so that the ship could be placed on a barge and fully salvaged. Helge Ingstad was successfully placed on a barge on 2 March 2019 Boa barge 33 carrying Helge Ingstad arrived at the Haakonsvern naval base on 3 March 2019.
On 14 May 2019 it was reported the cost of repairing Helge Ingstad would exceed US$1.4 billion, according to the Norwegian Armed Forces, implying that it would be nearly three times cheaper to build a new ship. However, restarting production for just one ship could result in a disproportionally high per-ship cost. In January 2021, the Norwegian government signed a 60 million kr (almost $7 million) contract with Norscrap West for the ship's scrapping.
The The Norwegian Safety Investigation Authority (NSIA) and the Defence Accident Investigation Board Norway (DAIBN) immediately began a joint investigation, with the involvement of the Marine Safety Investigation Unit of Malta. On 29 November 2018 the AIBN published their preliminary accident report together with two interim safety recommendations. It recommended that the Norwegian military authorities investigate the findings of the preliminary report with a view to implementing any necessary safety measures, and that the shipbuilder Navantia investigate relevant aspects of the design of the frigate and whether other ships might be similarly affected. The watertight condition of the ship was supposedly guaranteed by the 13 watertight bulkheads. Seven compartments were damaged as a result of the collision but initially the ship remained afloat. No one intervened to break the chain of errors. If the commander had observed International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS) the collision would not have occurred.
The second accident report by The Norwegian Safety Investigation Authority (Statens Havarikommisjon) delivered on the 21 April 2021 did exonerate Navantia: the ship suffered damage "above that for which it was designed", and did not make any recommendations for the ship builder. The report mentioned that "If the crew had been better trained, they would have had a better understanding of how to save the ship", and "They didn't understand that various systems were still functioning", noting that the crew evacuated the ship without closing doors, hatches, and other openings that would have maintained stability and buoyancy, avoiding the capsizing and sinking of the vessel, and saving the ship from total loss.