New phase in rehabilitation of Helge Ingstad

The formerly sunken Norwegian navy frigate Helge Ingstad has been raised and taken to Haakonsvern near Bergen. The Norwegian government’s four-month oil spill response campaign has ended.

Johan Marius Ly, the Norwegian Coastal Administration’s emergency response director, said that it had been a long and challenging operation that had been concluded without any accident or significant environmental damage.

While the Armed Forces have been responsible for salvaging the frigate, the Norwegian Coastal Administration has controlled the environmental response, in cooperation with the Coast Guard, IUA Bergen, the Norwegian Nature Conservation Authority and a number of other contributors.

On February 26th the last phase of the salvage operation, led by Boa Management, started when the €500m frigate was lifted off the bottom and towed to Hanøytangen, before being transported to Haakonsvern.

No significant discharges of pollutants were detected during the towing to Hanøytangen, with no shore pollution and no reports of oiled animals.

During the raising operations at Hanøytangen there was a discharge that spread out of the barriers around the casualty, due to manoeuvring within the barriers. This pollution resulted in seabirds being observed with indications of oil in the feathers. The Norwegian Coastal Administration has therefore engaged the Norwegian Nature Conservation Authority to conduct investigations and record any findings.

The Marine Research Institute was investigating farmed fish and mussels and Sintef Ocean the toxicity of the diesel in the marine environment. The frigate had about 460 cubic meters of marine diesel on board and the armed forces removed 143 cubic meters of marine diesel before the raising commenced.

The vessel will be debunked fully and the last weapons and ammunition will be removed. Then the hull will be measured to get an overview of the structure of the ship in order to decide how to proceed further with the vessel.

The vessel had been placed on the submersible lighter Boabarge 33 during the night of March 1st, with a lift scheduled for March 2nd after the last remnants of sea water have been pumped out. Some 1,400 particularly valuable parts were removed to preserve them in fresh water in an attempt to save them. The parts include circuit boards from the advanced on-board weapon and radar systems, as well as equipment that can shed light on the events that led to the frigate colliding and sinking.