Battery compartment of a Norwegian warship burst into flames

A blaze ignited on the Coast Guard vessel KV Hopen on the morning of Friday, October 27. By 11 a.m. that same Friday, the fire services managed to subdue the situation and gain control of the blaze. 

Battery compartment of a Norwegian warship burst into flames
Photo credit: Vard

Vard Communications Manager, Anne-Bente Skjellum, stated in an email correspondence with Defense Forum that it is too premature to assess the full extent of the damage. However, the fire is not anticipated to impose delays on the plan to hand the vessel over to Norwegian Defense Forces in 2024. 

KV Hopen, being one of the latest additions in the new Jan Mayen class, arrived in Norwegian waters in January 2023. Despite it not officially being under the custody of the Norwegian Armed Forces, it has been anchored at the Vard shipyard, awaiting its transition into a fully equipped Coast Guard vessel. 

“The origins of the fire can be traced back to the battery compartment, but the exact cause remains unknown,” states Toni Osen from the 110 center in Møre og Romsdal. 

Although no reports of casualties have emerged, the situation is considered serious and demanding due to the peculiar difficulties faced in extinguishing fires in battery compartments. “The fire has been put out by the department, however, consecutive batteries in proximity are igniting, posing an arduous task to the firefighters,” added Osen. 

The KV Hopen, alongside KV Jan Mayen and KV Bjornoya, constitute the third generation of the Jan-Mayen class. These ships are slated to replace the Nordkapp-class vessels by 2024. 

Earlier in January, KV Hopen docked at the Vard Langsten shipyard in Tomrefjord. The vessel is tasked with a transformation into a fully furnished Coast Guard ship, according to Defense Material press releases. 

“The arrival of the third ship in Norway embarks a phase of rigorous outfitting, testing, and completion before its formal commission,” comments Odd Magne Nilsen, the then project manager at Forsvarsmateriel. 

The next-generation Jan Mayen-class vessels, including KV Hopen, are deemed vital due to their capacity and potential to operate across all regions crucial to Norway, inclusive of the Arctic waters. 

The Jan Mayen-class includes the feature of helicopter facilities and is designed to predominantly cater to northern territories. The project, valued at an unprecedented seven billion NOK, is one of the most substantial naval procurements in the history of the Norwegian Armed Forces. 

The inaugural ship of the class, KV Jan Mayen, arrived in Norwegian territories in the fall of 2021 and is scheduled to be commissioned into the Coast Guard by the first half of 2023. The delivery of KV Bjornoya is expected in 2023, while KV Hopen is intended to be ready for service in 2024.


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