HNoMS Maud, the ship that wasn’t allowed to sail, still in the Netherlands
A year the new Norwegian oiler HNoMS Maud was in such a bad shape that the ship was not allowed to sail. The sailing ban was extended last spring, but in September the ship built in South Korea carefully returned to sea. Last week the replenishment vessel arrived in the Dutch naval base of Den Helder for a visit. Not because the problems were solved, but because of work on the masts needed for replenishment at sea (RAS).
HNoMS Maud, entering Den Helder. The RAS rigs are right in front of the bridge. (Photo: Bas Schaatsenberg)
Monday 23 November Norway’s largest naval ship appeared on the Marsdiep, approaching Den Helder. The HNoMS Maud was immediately noticed. Obviously because it is a foreign naval vessel, but also because the Maud has mainly been along side in Norway since it was commissioned. A week later, the Maud is still in Den Helder. What is going on?
Bosch Rexroth supplied the Maud with electrically-operated RAS rigs, just like the rigs for the ‘sisterships’ Royal Navy Tide class tankers. These RAS positions were installed at Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) during construction, but were not completely finished at the time. The final work, and additional work on the rigs was planned to take place in Norway, but due to the COVID restrictions, this was not possible. When it proved difficult to get the technicians to Norway, it was proposed to move the ship to the Netherlands. And so Den Helder became HNoMS Maud’s first foreign port of call.
The fact that the Maud was allowed to sail to the Netherlands is quite something. The ship was barred from sailing in August 2019 when it turned out that there were many problems with the brand new supplier. Well, brand new, construction was delayed due to problems at the yard in South Korea. And while the ship was waiting at DSME, the condition of the ship deteriorated. Nevertheless, the Norwegian Navy accepted the ship, sailed it to Norway and in the spring of 2019 the Maud was put into service. But the shortcomings had already come to light by then.
The sailing ban was extended last spring, but in August 2020, after hard work, the systems could be put into operation. In September the ship went to sea for the first time and it was decided to mix business with pleasure by planning a navigation exercise via the Sognefjord to the picturesque village of Flam. The ship was not allowed to sail much further from port, but that was already a lot at that time.
According to a press release of the Norwegian Navy, it was expected that the Maud could participate in the major naval exercise FLOTEX in Norwegian waters in November. The ship would be ready for the first RAS after commissioning. But that still required some work on the rigs and that was not possible in Norway. De Maud had to skip FLOTEX and headed to the Netherlands.
This change caused new delays and the ship is expected to be fully operational in autumn 2021, instead of summer 2021.
HNoMS Maud will return to sea next Monday, 7 December.