Tanker Sola and Norwegian navy frigate Helga Ingstad collide off Norway


Fedje VTS is a place where the they allow navy vessels sailing without transmitting AIS signal, and apperently the VTS doesnt even monitor them.

I think my suggestion about daylight sailing only for oil tankers is perfectly possible, even if there are more than one terminal. The question is are they willing to accept the additional cost.

Why not turn your suggestion on its head? Instead of suggesting only daylight departures/arrivals for commercial vessels, enforce only daylight transits for naval vessels. That would have the same end result without affecting profitability.

Given what we already know about the incident, it is fair to say that the larger portion of blame will be apportioned to the HI. Therefore, why suggest a policy change that disproportionately affects the commercial sector?


Why not arrive in the afternoon, load during the night and depart the next morning? Some crew could hit the Sture hot spots/bars in the meantime, if any. In my ferry business we arrive in the morning, discharge pax and load stores, clean cabins, etc, load pax and depart for a new overnight trip. But it happens that ships ram us, when we pick up a pilot entering port (Suez).

I’m also very curious about this. You can safely assume that they have some IR sensing capability, probably quite advanced. As I pointed out in the beginning, TS would have lit up IR like a fire, and a close watch of the passive systems would be part of any radio silent operating profile. How the HI watch failed to effectively use both IR and radar remains to be explained, but this looks more and more like a classical case of attention tunneling.

EDIT: The interim report states clearly that the HI was using radar, I somehow missed that.

12 posts were merged into an existing topic: Frigate Helga Ingstad Design - Damage Survivability

Probably texting while navigating.

On a ship doing 18 kts down a fjord there’d be other tasks to attend to, time to the next turn might be the most urgent task, next course, whatever turning marks are to be used, parallel index or whatever.

Also they may have been navigation lights to identify or shore lights to sort out. Other tasks in the wheelhouse.

The immediate traffic would have looked simple, three ships port to port. It’d be natural to shift attention to navigation.

Yes, but apart from three ships port to port there was an object with many lights (was) observed lying still just outside the Sture terminal and the object they (HI) saw on their starboard side in the middle of the fjord. So HI turned port to avoid this object, bla, bla, bla. So the Norwegian warship saw three ships and one object and decided to collide with the object. Pathetic! Absurd.

It doesn’t have to sound plausible to be true. Almost all cases like this are the result of lack of or loss of situational awareness so it’s most likely the case here regardless of how implausible it seems at any point.

As more details are filled in most likely it will become more and more plausible. Same as most other incidents.

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  1. AIS

  2. Radar transponders

  3. Pilots.

Reform the VTS and demand any warship operating in Norwegian inshore and nearshore waters in peacetime to show AIS. If they are planning on conducting training on stealth operation, notice must be sent to all VTS and broadcast to civilian traffic. (Time period and area of such training)

Apparently the HI also had stabiliser fins extended (for whatever reason on an inshore passage).
Can’t remember where I saw this, but it struck me as odd that a warship of this type have stabilisers. (Yet alone that they were extended)
I wrote it off as journalistic ignorance, but can anybody confirm, or disprove??

…and profound VTS reforms! In my VTS area, all war ships, local or foreign, carry a pilot. They most demand to do their own navigation for practice purpose but under a pilot supervision. Pilot’s heading and speed advice supersede …

If so one reason could be to have a more stable platform for gunnery control but why in a fjord close to land? The other is to prevent glasses from sliding of the tables.

Back on track. One of the problems was that the radio communication, apart from being conducted in Norwegian, was confusing, undisciplined and unprofessional. Consider the sketchy radio contact between the two ships: “Er det du som kommer her nå? / Ja, det stemmer”. They should listen for instance to aviation radio communication where there is no room for misunderstandings between air planes and the control tower.

Whoever monitored the radios on the HI either did not hear or did not pass on the TS pre-departure and departure calls.

Not realizing there’s a ship the size of an aircraft carrier manoeuvering nearby is a bit embarrassing, but it certainly seems the frigate was both literally and figuratively in the dark, deaf and blind, A simple system to prevent confusion and thus accidents, when ships leave the terminal, would be that a VTS like Fedje sends warning messages at regular intervals as soon as a departure is imminent and under way and in English please. That could be automated with a recorded message, just press a button. The terminal should then inform VTS about departures. It would be nice of course that all ships in the area keep a proper radio watch…

Well, according 14 Norwegian marine incident investigators having interviewed the HI crew, HI observed ahead of it three ships heading north and one big ‘object’ in the fairway. The big ‘object’ was 900 m off the shore line and north of the Sture terminal. To avoid hitting the ‘object’ and running up on land HI turned port in the last moment. The ‘object’ was later identified as M/T Sola TS. It seems the crew of HI thought mysterious ‘objects’ suddenly appear at sea, e.g. submarines testing the Royal Norwegian Navy. I look forward to the final incident report.

Did HI receive the AIS signal being transmitted by the tanker?

How was the AIS displayed on HI? On the radar? On the ECDIS?

There must be some reason why the HI watch did not see an AIS target with a name and predictor line displayed?

Good questions! How could HI miss Sola TS and believe it was an ‘object’?

There are many types of ships:

Ships that carry passengers, ships that carry cargo and ships that carry weapons to destroy the enemy. Forget fishing boats, yachts, etc. Here I discuss the first three types of ships.

Ships that carry passengers, aka passenger ships shall survive one or two compartments up-flooding in incidents and 100% of the persons aboard shall have a seat in a davit launched lifeboat and life raft in an emergency requiring abandon ship in 30 minutes. Compare Costa Concordia 2012. All was the fault of the Captain that 32 persons drowned and the ship was a CTL.

Ships that carry cargo and less than 12 passengers, aka merchant ships, shall have lifeboats for them and crew but there are no damage stability/survival requirements. Compare Exxon Valdez 1989. All, incl. the oil spill, was the fault of the Captain asleep in his cabin.

Warships like KNM Helge Ingstad (topic) are completely different. There are no safety rules for them. Only idiots, aka sailors, work on them and they are supposed to swim ashore after being hit and sunk in action by the enemy. Compare Bismark 1942. All the fault of Adolf Hitler. It is part of the deal when embarking.

I have been involved with all three (and more) types pf ships in my 50 years career in shipping and I have witnessed plenty incidents. Easiest is to blame the Captain but we never did it.

In this case the King of Norway, the Owner, must decide what to do with his incompetent sailors on KNM Helge Ingstad!

Don’t know, but I believe that with the Fitzgerald AIS information was available but was not on the displays used, the way it is on merchant ships.