A row is brewing in Norway over the status of the navy’s expensive Fridtjof Nansen class frigates. Only one of the five Aegis-equipped warships, which entered service between 2006 and 2011, is fully operational.

HNOMS Fridtjof Nansen is currently heading NATO’s Operation Ocean Shield conducting anti-piracy patrols off Somalia. HNOMS Roald Amundsen and HNOMS Thor Heyerdahl are reported to be undergoing maintenance, while two others are laid up, with HNOMS Otto Sverdrop reportedly being cannibalised for spare parts.

The parlous state of affairs is blamed on the failure to agree a maintenance and parts package when the ships were being built in Spain, due to cost overruns. Another reason for the ships not being at sea is personnel shortages. The navy does not have enough skilled sailors to crew the ships, with many service personnel leaving the service for more lucrative work in the offshore oil industry.

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