Electrical issues force German tanker to withdraw from Norwegian drill

German Navy’s 40-year-old tanker FGS Spessart was forced to abort its participation in a Norwegian-hosted exercise in the North Sea after experiencing electrical issues.

Spessart was part of a multi-ship group maneuvering off Bergen, Norway, during two linked exercises – the Norwegian fleet exercise TG 18-1 and NATO exercise Dynamic Guard.

Initial reports indicated the ship suffered main engine failure but the German Navy denied this saying the Spessart experienced electrical systems issues which rendered it unsafe to go to sea.

The navy said the problems were being investigated at the Norwegian port of Haarkonsvern where Spessart will stay for maintenance “until further notice”.

This is the second time within a year that the ship has been forced to return to port. Spessart had to be towed home from UK waters after experiencing problems with its engine during the Joint Warrior drill off Scotland in April 2017.

The oiler is part of the German Navy’s replenishment squadron in the Wilhelmshaven navy base. It is operated mostly by a civilian crew and commanded by a civilian captain. Together with lead ship Rhön, Spessart was delivered to the German Navy received in the 1970s. The replacement procedure for the two single-hull ships is expected to begin in 2020-21.