The Royal Norwegian Navy Fridtjof Nansen-class frigate, HNoMS Helge Ingstad (F313) has collided with a crude oil tanker, Sola TS, in the Hjeltefjord in Sture, north of Bergen, Norway at 4 a.m. local time on Nov. 8.
Seven people were lightly injured in the collision and the entire warship crew of 137 has been evacuated amid fears the ship will sink. The military said the ship has sustained heavy damages and is now taking on water. The ship was deliberately run aground in an attempt to prevent her sinking and by late morning she had developed a severe angle of list with the starboard side submerge
Sola TS, a Maltese-flagged oil tanker, was not damaged and its 23-man crew remained on board, according to reports.
The 62,000-ton tanker, which was on its way to Britain, had been reportedly loaded with crude oil and was being towed out of the harbor when it rammed the frigate. The Norwegian Coast Guard said the extent of leakage from the tanker was unknown. Reuters reported that the Equinor Sture oil shipment terminal, from where the oil tanker left, has been closed as a precautionary measure.
According to Norway’s Accident Investigation Board, a towboat was also involved in the accident. Further details of the accident were still unclear but the Norwegian Navy has planned a news conference for later in the day.
The warship had recently taken part in the NATO-led Exercise Trident Juncture, a NATO-led military exercise held in Norway from last month with an Article 5 collective defence scenario. The frigate is part of Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG1), one of NATO’s standing naval maritime immediate reaction forces.
HNoMS Helge Ingstad is the fourth Fridtjof Nansen-class frigate of the Royal Norwegian Navy and was named after the Norwegian explorer, Helge Marcus Ingstad.
The 5,290 ton Fridtjof Nansen-class frigates are the main surface combatant units of Norway and are one of the few non-U.S. Navy ship classes incorporated with Lockheed Martin’s AEGIS combat system.