- Nov 15, 2005
Draft report is out and it is definitely the Frigate's fault. It also find serious problems with the Frigates design, the water tight compartments weren't.
The warship’s crew had told their counterparts onboard Sola that they planned to pass this object before turning, which could explain why they made no attempt to maneuver until right before the collision. This doesn’t explain why Helge Ingstad was unaware that there was a fourth ship heading north in the fjord, since Sola’s AIS transponder was on and transmitting. Publicly available radar tracks, seen below, show the tanker, as well, meaning it should also have been visible to the frigate’s own radars, too.
There also appears to have been a lapse in good judgment in crew's decision to change the watch on the bridge while they were in the middle of a congested shipping lane. The preliminary report also raises questions regarding training and procedures for positively identifying ships and other potential hazards, especially in the dark.
SourceAll of these compartments are all supposed to be watertight, specifically to help contain damage from spreading. Unfortunately, the frigate’s crew found that water was rushing from the generator room into the gear room, which was not otherwise breached, through the hollow propeller shaft tubes. Stuffing boxes in bulkheads in the gear room also failed, leading to flooding in the adjacent aft and fore engine rooms.
“This meant that the flooding became substantially more extensive than indicated by the original damage,” the report explains. “Based on the flooding of the gear room, it was decided to prepare for evacuation.”
Needless to say, this is a major problem. It calls into question the ability of the ships to withstand any serious damage to their aft compartments, something that is pretty important for a surface combatant.