Published: Fri, November 09, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Norwegian warship collides with oil tanker following North Atlantic Treaty Organisation exercise

Norwegian warship collides with oil tanker following North Atlantic Treaty Organisation exercise

The Norwegian frigate KNM Helge Ingstad has been seriously damaged in a collision with the Maltese-registered tanker Sola TS close to Bergen, Norway, on 8 November, the Norwegian Joint Headquarters (NJHQ) has confirmed.

According to reports from the rescue crews, seven people have been lightly injured in the collision, and there has been no oil spilled from the tanker, which suffered a lot less damage than the frigate, which was returning from a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation military drill.

One said: "The situation is going bad to worse for Norwegian frigate #HelgeIngstad".

Norwegian navy frigate KNM Helge Instad was crashed into by the other vessel and is rapidly taking on water.

Pictures show the 5,290 ton, 440 foot frigate lying low in the water as it sinks beneath the waves.

It was being towed out of the harbour when it somehow managed to ram the frigate. The collision tore a large hole in the hull of the vessel, which began taking on water and had to be pushed into shallow coastal waters by tugboats to keep it from sinking.

"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 centre told AFP.

Some 10,000 liters (2,642 gallons) of ship's fuel and helicopter fuel is reported to have leaked into the sea.

The NTB quoted fire officials as saying the frigate was listing.

It is unclear what caused the collision but several oil and gas terminals were shut down as a precaution. Norway's Accident Investigation Board said a towboat was also involved in the accident, but didn't say how.

The tanker had earlier left Equinor's Sture terminal with a cargo of North Sea crude.

Built in Spain in 2009, the KNM Helge Ingstad participated in chemical disarmament operations in Syria between December 2013 and May 2014.

The £500 million Helge Instad was launched in 2007 and is one of five Fridtjof Nansen-class frigates operated by Norway.

Nato's Allied Maritime Command said in a statement: "Due to the damage to the frigate it was moved to a safe place".

An image of the ship tipped to one side was posted with the comment.

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