The Royal Norwegian Navy’s newest ship cannot leave the dock as numerous safety hazards were discovered aboard the NATO vessel after being commissioned in May with much fanfare.
Having cost 2.2 billion Norwegian krones (US$246 million), the logistics and supply ship KNM Maud is Norway’s largest naval vessel ever built. It has an operating room, a hospital for 44 beds and a hangar for two helicopters.
However, the ship cannot embark on voyages after global risk-assessment firm DNV GL deemed it too unsafe to sail. The ban will last until many of the vessel’s deficiencies are fixed, which is expected to happen sometime next year.
After examining the KNM Maud and interviewing the crew, the company rolled out a laundry list of red flags. Among the problems uncovered are the heavy doors which pose a “danger” to the crew, and the absence of proper lighting on board, which makes it hard to walk around the ship in the dark.
Much of the new and expensive medical equipment turned out to be faulty or outdated. In particular, an oxygen generator in the operating room could potentially pose a “major” fire hazard, a report by DNV GL said, citing interviews with the crew.
The firm also found no signs that the vessel had undergone any maintenance for two years while docked at the shipyard in South Korea where it was being built. The delivery of the KNM Maud to Norway was delayed several times as the shipyard underwent bankruptcy, and due to a number of workplace incidents during construction which left three workers dead and several injured.
Defense Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen told Aftenposten on Monday that all problems with the ship will be tackled during its test run.
“This happens in all major acquisitions. KNM Maud is under a warranty, and the shipyard is focused on implementing its warranty obligations,” he said, stating that all deficiencies on board will be addressed “as soon as possible.”