Sunken Norwegian frigate will not be repaired, gov’t says

The Norwegian government has decided not to repair the frigate HNoMS Helge Ingstad which sank in the Hjeltefjorden fjord in late 2018.

It is more appropriate to dispose of the vessel than to repair it, Frank Bakke-Jensen, the country’s Defense Minister said in a statement.

A report issued by the Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency (NDMA) showed that it would cost up to USD 1.65 billion to repair the frigate which spent four months almost completely submerged. There is also greater uncertainty with regards to repair works.

By comparison, building a new, similar vessel would require an investment of up to USD 1.53 billion.

In November last year, HNoMS Helge Ingstad was involved in a collision with a tanker in the Hjeltefjorden fjord near Bergen. After the incident, all 137 crew were evacuated while the vessel was intentionally grounded in an attempt to prevent her from sinking in deep water. However, the frigate later slipped from the rocks and sank almost completely, with only her mast showing.

The Fridtjof Nansen-class frigate was subsequently raised from the seafloor of the Hjeltefjorden fjord and transported to the Haakonsvern navy base in March this year. The holes in the ship’s hull were patched up and the vessel was able to return to water in April.

During preliminary works on the ship, the navy and defense ministry identified between USD 11 and USD 45 million worth of equipment that can be salvaged and used as spares on the remaining four ships in the class.

The shipwreck has had significant consequences for Norway’s defense capability. Therefore, the capacity the navy had before the incident involving Helge Ingstad needs to be re-established, the statement further reads.