The high-speed craft MS Sleipner, which was built by Austal Ships, was 42 meters long and was registered to carry 380 passengers. On Friday 26 November 1999 the craft ran on to the rocks at high speed. After a time the bow broke off and the craft moved off the rock. The damage to the hulls was extremely extensive. Just over 30 minutes after running aground, the main section of the craft went down. Those on board ended up in the water. 69 persons were picked up alive. 15 dead were found and identified. One person is still missing.
Navigational error was the initial cause of the disaster. The craft suffered extensive damage at the time of grounding and immediately afterwards. The bottoms of the hulls were torn up and the bow section was torn off. The craft lost its buoyancy very quickly.
Recently published report contains many conclusions and recommendations. Some of the findings were:
- Transitional emergency source of electrical power, i.e. accumulator batteries that are to supply power in the period before the emergency generator starts up and if the emergency generators should cease to function, were installed at too low a level in the craft. They should be installed above the waterline in the final condition of damage.
- There was a serious defect in the liferaft arrangement – the raft containers were not equipped with type-approved hydrostatic release units.
- Evacuation system and liferaft arrangement were not adequate
- The life jackets had been type-approved by British maritime authorities and were accepted by the Norwegian Maritime Directorate on that basis in accordance with the EEA rules. The life jackets failed to function satisfactorily.
Principal recommendations are summarized below:
- The scope of the regulations for high-speed craft should be extended
- More stringent requirements should be introduced for survival after damage
- Emergency power elements should be located higher up above the waterline
- Introduction of requirements to immersion suits for passengers should be considered
- Test procedures for life-saving appliances should be further developed
- Requirements for self-righting liferafts should be introduced
- Functional requirements should be drawn up for radar and other navigational aids
- Active work should be done to arrange conditions for use of modern navigational aids and integrated bridge designs
- Electronic navigational systems (ECDIS) should be introduced on high-speed craft
- Requirements to training for crews on high-speed craft should be more stringent
- Simulators should be used in the training and courses should attach particular importance to bridge procedures.