Norway Announces That HNoMS Helge Instad Will Be Scrapped

After raising the battered vessel back in March the Norwegian government has elected to scrap the Helge Instad. Estimates determined that it would cost $1.4-1.6 billion to repair the vessel compared to $1.3-1.5 billion to procure a brand new vessel. The choice was obvious given how uncertain such extensive repair work would be.

The wounded Helge Instad after grounded itself on the rocky shore. Photo Courtesy of Mattis Sandblad

Back in November 2018, Norwegian Navy frigate Helge Instad was involved in the worst accident the Norwegian Navy has experienced in decades. While returning from an exercise Helge Instad collided with an oil tanker after misidentifying it as a stationary oil terminal. Damage to the frigate was extensive resulting in 3 of 13 watertight bulkheads being breached. Propulsion and control of the rudder were lost resulting in the ship running aground. Helge Instad was evacuated but it seemed as though the vessel would remain above the waves. However, faulty construction of watertight areas led to 3 more compartments being flooded dooming the ship.
Close to a week after the collision Helge Instad foundered with only it’s mast remaining above water. Sensitive electronics, radars, and weapon systems were submerged in salt water and would never function again.

As the ship took on water it continued to slip off the shore. Eventually it was almost totally submerged.Photo Courtesy of the Norwegian Coast Administration

The ship was raised but whether to gut the ship and rebuild it or scrap it remained a question. Now that question has been answered, but more remain. Will the Norwegian Navy procure a replacement or continuing running multiple crews on it’s remaining 4 frigates? Restarting production for a single ship is very inefficient but the class won’t see a replacement for decades. Navantia, the Spanish contractor who built the vessel and its leaky interior, has yet to face any financial repercussions. The Accident Investigation Board issued a safety recommendation that the remaining ships of the Fridtjof Nansen-class, which the Helge Instad belonged to, be investigated for similar unseaworthiness. So far no issues have been found.