Report: Cost to Repair Wrecked Norwegian Frigate Exceeds $1.4B

Damage to the hull of the Ingstad, as seen before she was raised (Image courtesy Forsvaret)

Published May 14, 2019 5:22 PM by The Maritime Executive

The cost of repairing the salvaged frigate KNM Helge Ingstad would exceed $1.4 billion, according to Norway's defense department (Forsvaret) - far more than she cost to build. 

The salvage of the Ingstad has already cost the Norwegian government over $80 million, and documents from Forsvaret's Defense Materials division given to Bergens Tidende show that "the cost of repairing the frigate will be more than [$1.4 billion]." The cost of a one-off replacement is not known, but the Ingstad - one of five vessels in a series based on Navantia's successful Álvaro de Bazán-class frigates - cost only about $500 million to build.

Forsvaret has not yet reached a formal conclusion about the possibility of repairing the Ingstad and returning her to service, but it has begun exploring options to shore up Norway's naval capabilities in her absence. Among other options, Forsvaret is considering extending the life of a class of small missile boats which are currently slated for decommissioning. It also has the option of adding one more unit onto an existing contract for new submarines. 

The Ingstad collided with a tanker off the Sture oil terminal on November 8, 2018. Despite attempts to keep her afloat, within several days she sank on a rocky, sloping seabed near the terminal. The effort to raise her was slowed by foul weather, and her hull and all ships' systems remained submerged until late February. 

A preliminary report from Norway's Accident Investigation Board found that a significant share of the fault for the collision lay with the Ingstad's bridge team, which believed that the oncoming tanker was a fixed object. Despite extensive attempts at communication between the tanker, the VTS center and the Ingstad, the Ingstad's team did not attempt to alter course until they were in extremis. The tanker's bow struck Ingstad amidships on the starboard side, causing extensive damage and flooding.