A Norwegian Navy frigate was rammed by an oil tanker on Thursday at approximately 4 a.m. local time while it was docked on the country’s west coast, according to the military. The crew of 127 was evacuated as the vessel took on water and began to sink.
Eight people were slightly injured in the incident on the KNM Helge Ingstad, which had recently returned from the “Trident Juncture” NATO drill. Meanwhile, some 10,000 liters of helicopter fuel leaked into the sea, according to Johan Marius Ly of the Norwegian Coast Guard. The fuel is expected to evaporate quickly.
Nils Andreas Stensoenes, the head of Norway’s Navy said that the cause of the accident is unclear, adding that the frigate was pushed into shallow waters by tugboats so that it would not fully sink.
“We are in a security phase for the time being,” he added.
The collision ripped an opening in the frigate’s hull, which was “taking in more water than they can pump out,” according to the rescue center’s Eirik Walle. “There is no control over the leak and the stern is heavily in the sea.”
The Maltese-flagged oil tanker, Sola TS, was not damaged in the incident, and its 23-man crew remained onboard.
The 442-foot KNM Helge Ingstad cost approximately $500 million USD, and was built in the Spanish Navantia shipyard between 2006 – 2011. The purchase included six NH-90 helicopters which can operate from the ship.
The Helgewas one of the most expensive purchases the Norwegian military has made, and has a large quantity of weapons and explosives on board.
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