Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

Norwegian warship hits oil tanker on return from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation drills

6d669087 Helge Ingstad: Warship collides with tanker in fjord
Kenny Thornton | 09 November, 2018, 12:26

Up to eight people were injured in the collision in the Hjeltefjord near Bergen, Norway, when the KNM Helge Ingstad crashed into a vessel from Malta.

The frigate is believed to be the KNM Helge Ingstad, which took part in NATO's massive Trident Juncture 2018 wargames.

There were no reports of damage or leaks from the oil tanker, identified as Sola TS.

The incident occurred at 4:26am (local time) on 8 November in Hjeltefjorden, north of Sotra, Norwegian Armed Forces 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.

Norwegian news agency NTB is reporting that the collision tore a hole in the frigate's side, and that it is taking in more water than can be pumped out.

The Navy quickly evacuated all the crew except for 10 essential staff members to prevent a possible fuel leak.

An investigation into the causes of the incident will be launched today, in collaboration with the Defense Accident Investigation Board Norway (DAIBN) and the Marine Safety Investigation Unit (MSIU) from Malta.

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The Sture oil terminal and the Kollsnes gas processing plant were shut down as a precautionary measure.

Several offshore rigs that were pumping their production into the Sture terminal, a major tanker port for crude oil, temporarily suspended the flow, Norwegian newspaper Dagens Naeringsliv reported.

A small oil slick has surrounded the ship following the collision.

The Helge Instad is 442 feet long and was built by Spanish shipbuilder Navantia in 2009.

"It took on a lot of water and there is a real danger that it sinks where it is", a rescue official told AFP.

The frigate had received alerts from the tanker and from the Coastal Maritime Traffic Center Fedje VTS, sources have told the Norwegian news website, Aldrimer.

"According to our assessments, there's no reason to believe that anything, like an accident, could happen with the weapons" on board, he said.

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