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Norwegian submarine-hunting frigate rammed by Maltese oil tanker

09 November 2018

KNM Helge Ingstad (F313) is one of the Norwegian navy's five frigates of the Fridtjof Nansen class.

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.

Although the tanker was undamaged, the £465 million frigate took on large quantities of water and was in danger of sinking when the captain took her into shallower water before running her aground.

The Accident Investigation Board said because the tanker is Maltese-registered, the Marine Safety Investigation Unit (MSIU) of Malta will participate in the investigation.

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Eight people on the KNM Helge Instad were slightly injured when the accident occurred at 4 a.m. local time in Sture, north of Bergen, the Joint Rescue Coordination Center for southern Norway said.

Eirik Walle, of Norway's rescue centre, told Norwegian news agency NTB the collision smashed a hole in the side of the warship. The Maltese-flagged ship was loaded with crude oil en route to Britain. Norway's Accident Investigation Board said a towboat was also involved in the accident, but didn't say how.

According to the Norwegian Coastal Administration, a 10-cubic metre helicopter fuel tank on the frigate was ruptured. "The frigate moved to an inshore location and was listing heavily at 11:30am, amidst emergency efforts to prevent the vessel from sinking".

The tanker was not damaged, and its 23-strong crew remains onboard, according to AP.

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Production at a number of surrounding North Sea oil and gas facilities was temporarily stopped after the collision as a precautionary measure but has now resumed.

The Trident Juncture 18 live drills concluded on November 7 in Norway.

The frigate is part of a Nato fleet in the Atlantic and the alliance has been informed of the accident, he told reporters.

The ship had previously been part of an escort convoy which seized chemical weapons from Syria back in 2013.

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Norwegian submarine-hunting frigate rammed by Maltese oil tanker