The Norwegian investigation team blames the Spanish shipyard Navantia for the sinking of the frigate KNM Helge Ingstad (F-313) after colliding with an oil tanker on November 8. The Commission of Investigation of Transport Accidents claims to have discovered a “critical” design failure of the ship by the Spanish shipyard. However Navantia has not received the report nor has been able to participate in the investigation. Naval military experts question the Norwegian version and stress that the accident was due to negligence. That commission is clearly clairvoyant since the wreck has not even been lifted yet, a rather premature and unprofessional conclusion.
The watertightness of the compartments guarantees that, in case of hull damage, it does not flood the rest of the ship, causing it to sink. According to an annex to the preliminary report, the flood affected three compartments: the aft engine room, the accommodation of the crew on deck and the store room. Water went from engine room to the gear box through the hollow of the propellers as they were not hermetically sealed and so it was quickly flooded. The crew found that water from the aft generator room was running into the gear room via the hollow propeller shafts and that the gear room was filling up fast. From the gear room, the water then ran into and was flooding the aft and fore engine rooms via the stuffing boxes in the bulkheads. This meant that the flooding became substantially more extensive than indicated by the original damage.
If this is true the yard surely has to answer for a few things. On the other hand the Norwegian Navy should have been on the alert also. Was there a Class involved?
The Nansen class frigates were billed as ‘unsinkable’ due to its construction with 16 water-tight sections designed to keep the warship ‘intact and operable’. Where have I heard such a statement as ‘unsinkable’ before?