Norwegian frigate sinking after oil tanker collision. A Norwegian warship was heavily damaged in a collision with a Maltese oil tanker in the North Sea off the coast of Norway.
According to Norwegian media reports Thursday, the frigate is in danger of sinking after sustaining heavy damage. The oil tanker is reportedly undamaged.
An operation was underway on Thursday (Nov 8) to try to stop a Norwegian navy frigate from sinking after it collided with a Maltese oil tanker in a fjord in western Norway.
Eight people received minor injuries in the accident, which took place shortly after 4am (0300 GMT) in a busy waterway in the Hjeltefjord near Bergen, Norway’s military said.
The 137 people on board the KNM Helge Ingstad frigate, which was returning from NATO’s Trident Juncture exercises, were evacuated after the collision with the Sola TS tanker, the military said.
“The KNM Helge Ingstad suffered damage above and below the waterline. The damage was such that the frigate was no longer stable and was not able to float sufficiently,” a Norwegian Navy officer, Sigurd Smith, told reporters.
“It was therefore decided to force it up on (nearby) rocks,” he said.
In the early afternoon, the grey 5,000-tonne vessel was listing heavily on its side, its helicopter landing pad at the back of the ship lying largely under the water, television images showed.
“It took on a lot of water and there is a real danger that it will sink where it is,” an official for the Sola rescue center told AFP.
“The armed forces is now reviewing all the means available in the region to assist the KNM Helge Ingstad (the damaged warship),” Lieutenant Colonel Ivar Moen told AFP.
The ship, which had recently taken part in the vast Trident Juncture NATO military drill in Norway, is “strongly listing,” Stensoenes told a news conference Thursday afternoon. The frigate was lying in the water almost on its side with its stern under the water.
The 442-foot long frigate, built in Spain in 2009, is part of a NATO fleet in the Atlantic. The alliance has been informed of the accident, he said.
The Maltese-flagged oil tanker, Sola TS, was not damaged and its 23-man crew remained on board. The shipping site Sysla reported the tanker had been loaded with crude oil and was on its way to Britain.
Stensoenes said the cause of the accident was not clear and the Navy would wait for the findings of Norway’s Accident Investigation Board. Earlier reports had said a towboat was also involved in the collision, but Stensoenes denied that report.
He said the frigate had been pushed by towboats into shallow water where it could not sink fully.
“We are in a security phase for the time being,” he said. He declined to comment on what would happen to the weapons on board the ship.