The following is the Nov. 29, 2018 Accident Investigation Board Norway’s preliminary report of the collision between HMoS Helge Ingstad and tanker Sola TS.
From the Report
This preliminary report is published to communicate the information obtained during the initial phase of the ongoing investigation. The purpose is to provide a brief update on how the investigation is progressing as well as a preliminary description of the sequence of events and disseminate safety-critical issues identified at this stage of the investigation. This preliminary report also identifies areas that need further investigation and describes lines of investigation that will be followed up.
The accident was a complex one, involving several individuals, bridge crews, vessels, a VTS and the interaction between them. The investigation is therefore demanding in terms of time and resources. The AIBN stresses that this is a preliminary report and that it may consequently contain some errors and inaccuracies. Because of considerations relating to the duty of confidentiality, classified material and the investigation process, the AIBN does not publish all its information at the present time.
Notification of the accident
On the morning of Thursday 8 November 2018, the Accident Investigation Board Norway (AIBN) was informed of a collision between the frigate ‘KNM Helge Ingstad’ and the Maltese registered tanker ‘Sola TS’ in Hjeltefjorden, outside the Sture terminal in Øygarden Municipality in Hordaland County, Norway. The AIBN contacted the Defence Accident Investigation Board Norway (DAIBN) and it was decided to initiate a joint investigation into the accident, led by the AIBN. The AIBN then contacted the Marine Safety Investigation Unit of Malta (MSIU), which is also a participating party in the investigation; cf. Chapter 18 Section 474 of the Norwegian Maritime Code. The investigation is being conducted in accordance with Chapter 18 of the Norwegian Maritime Code and Directive 2009/18/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 establishing the fundamental principles governing the investigation of accidents in the maritime transport sector.
The initial phase of the investigation
In the course of the afternoon and evening of 8 November 2018, the AIBN arrived in Bergen with 14 representatives of the AIBN and the DAIBN, to initiate the investigation.
Interviews with the bridge crew on the tanker ‘Sola TS’, and the inspection of the vessel started the same day. The following day, the AIBN started its interviews with the bridge crew on the frigate ‘KNM Helge Ingstad’. The AIBN has also conducted an inspection on board a similar frigate and interviewed several engine room and operations crew on ‘KNM Helge Ingstad’. In addition, the AIBN has interviewed the pilot on board ‘Sola TS’ and personnel who were on duty at Fedje VTS.
The Voyage Data Recorder (VDR) from Sola TS has been secured and played back. It contains voyage data and audio recordings from the vessel’s bridge. Radar data and automatic identification system (AIS) data have been obtained from the Norwegian Coastal Administration. Data from the bridge of ‘KNM Helge Ingstad’ have also been retrieved and secured.
The AIBN’s initial investigation has focused on establishing a preliminary description of the sequence of events, and on mapping what took place on board ‘KNM Helge Ingstad’ and ‘Sola TS’ up until the time of the accident at 04:01, including the vessels’ communication with Fedje VTS. The purpose has been to find answers to the questions of what happened, how it happened, and what were the circumstances surrounding the accident.
The investigation team has also started to map how the accident developed after the collision up until the time when all crew had been evacuated. In that connection, the AIBN has started to collect information to get a picture of the damage to the frigate, its damage stability, damage control procedures etc.