Tanker Sola and Norwegian navy frigate Helga Ingstad collide off Norway


The revision to Norwegian is most likely a symptom of stress due to the sudden uncertainty in the situation and the short period of time to resolve the issue. When under stress people often revert to behavior which was learned earlier.

I routinely use port and starboard for helm commands but I’ve noticed I sometimes switch to left and right, which is how I first learned it when I suddenly find myself in a tight spot.

It’s a way the brain cuts down on cognitive workload in stressful situations.


We should sign a petition addressed to the IMO requiring the following STEERING AND SAILING RULES amendments;

Rule 3; General Definitions

(f) The term vessel not under command means a naval ship which through some exceptional circumstance is unable to manoeuvre as required by these Rules and is therefore unable to keep out of the way of another vessel.


Rule 18; Responsibilities between Vessels

A naval ship underway shall keep out of the way of:
(i) a vessel not under command,
(ii) a vessel restricted in her ability to manoeuvre,
(iii) a vessel engaged in fishing,
(iv) a sailing vessel.
(v) a power-driven vessel
(vi) a lighthouse


According to vg.no today the distance from the collision point to the nearest shallow spot (marked with an unlit “Stake”) is approx. 900 m.:


That isn’t a courtesy or a rule, it is just good common sense and defensive driving. Like avoiding drunks or morons texting while driving.


Nah, it’s more or less always Norwegian. Received an e-mail from the Norwegian Coastal Administration about a year ago that forward all communication with VTS should be in English. Lasted shorter than the time it took me to read the mail.


Again, all kinds of water on the starboard side !
2:17 — Helge Ingstad: Than we go to the nearest blocks. (shore, reef) ???


The frigate had all the sea room and time to avert. She did not «fight» nor «flight» but «freeze» in a loss of peripheral vision or situational awareness due to stress from lack of earlier learned experience. Tunnel vision occur temporarily when the body produces high levels of adrenalin, in panic or stress… :thinking:


In that needless occurrence, I really do wish that Sola TS pilot had the reflex and time to order the vessel’s engine full astern and to order the tug to pull full … as altering to starboard would’ve created another close-quarter situation. :frowning_face:


I was referring to the conversation between the pilot on the Sola and the VTS but @Kraken has pointed out that the VTS uses Norwegian routinely so the point is moot in this particular instance.

In any case “stress” is probably not the best term, my understanding is that in accident theory the term can refer to a perception that a person lacks sufficient resources to meet goals. Which would be the case with a tanker pilot about to collide with another ship. That’s not to say the pilot would panic, just that it would change behavior.


I believe all the crews on board HI have been/will be questioned, incl. this US Navy officer, as a matter of cause. That would be even if he was not directly involved in anything at the time of this event. (Most were asleep)

His role on board has not been stated anywhere I have seen, but he was seen as part of the regular crew, not an observer because of the exercise just completed, or as an instructor etc.

It is apparently quite common for US Naval Officers to be place on board allied naval vessel to learn about the way they operate. Normally for two years, but nothing have been said about how long this person had been on board HI, or attached to the Norwegian Navy.


Much have been made of the statement about “navigation exercise”.
This is just a common way in NATO to describe a normal transit situation, not that they are doing anything other than training on navigation as they are transiting, in this case from the exercise area off Mid-Norway to their base at Haakonsvaern Naval station, near Bergen.

This has been confirmed by the Naval spokesperson and referred to in news articles quoted here.


The comunication is in Norwegian because all involved speak Norwegian, of course bad for the ships around that dont understand Norwegian. There is no stress before the end. If Sola TS had made the comunication in english the others would had followed. But it is a common practise in many countries that the pilot speak with third parties like tugs, shore , etc… in their native language. In Norway it should not be a problem to make all comunication in English. Especialy when the situation got more critical, the captain of Sola TS should have requested to the pilot that ALL the communication was done in English.


Not only in the English language but using SMCP in Standard English.
In this case the conversation initially sounded more like a couple of friends sitting around the coffee table at the cafe’ on Fedje. Later it broke down into garble.


What are the requirements to earn the conn of a frigate ? :thinking:

If I refer to my own experience, it took 3 years of college, 12 months of sea time, all kinds of added simulators and trainings, 3 to 4 months of self study to prepare for the DOT written and oral examinations. Then, my first few watches were scrutinized by a master who did not thrust me whatsoever and never missed a chance to fall on my back … :face_with_raised_eyebrow:


As I said after the US Navy collision in Japan:

If you choose to steam without AIS, you are electing to be primarily responsible for any collision that results.


The one in charge is the master, not the pilot, there was time for both vessel to do something.


Where did you get that the master of the Sola TS, not in charge but in command, was on the bridge? Was the OOW really aware of the developing situation to the point of calling her master, following the incomprehensible Norwegian dialect VHF conversations ? If the master was not on the bridge, who was in charge of the conduct or controlling her movement under compulsory pilotage ? If the master was on the bridge, would he come to a better solution than going full astern ? Would any master counter such a order given by a pilot in the same situation ? It is not a question to know who was is in command or in charge. The question is Sola TS had to take action as would best aid to avoid collision, by slacking down her speed or take all way off by reversing her engine, as there was traffic on her stbd side.


I assume that the Captain of Sola TS was on the bridge, and that the situation was Captains command, Pilot advice. I believe that most ISM require the Captain to be on the bridge when pilot is on-board. It is the job of the Captain to challenge the decision of the pilot.


That could be a tall order on the Norwegian coast. Some ships take pilots at Kopervik in the south and proceed along the inshore route all the way to Honningsvaag, near North Cape. (Dist. approx 950 n.miles, or 4 days steaming at 10 kts.)

PS> In the older days (<1970) some pilots were licensed for the entire stretch, but now the pilots has to be changed a few times en route I believe. (Not sure how many and where) (??)


Long pilotage is normal many places, and specialy now with the rest hours regulation the Captain must also rest, then he gives the control of the vessel to the Chief Officer as stipulated in the ISM. Leaving Sture is just a few hours before the pilot is off. Long stretches normaly means several pilots, like in Skagen.