The Royal Norwegian Navy is having a bad day. The frigate HNoMS Helge Ingstad was rammed by a Maltese-flagged oil tanker Sola TS, in the pre-dawn hours. The collision took place as the tanker was departing the Sturte oil terminal which is located 50 km northwest of the Norwegian port city of Bergen. Ingstad was at anchor in the harbor, according to reports, when she was struck by the oil tanker. The initial damage was so severe that the frigate’s captain ordered the ship to be deliberately beached to prevent her from capsizing. The possibility of that happening was great enough for the captain to evacuate the crew from the ship. Seven sailors have been reported injured in the incident.
The cause of the accident remains unclear at the moment. The fate of the frigate is also unclear. Crews are working to assess the damage, and determine the next step. The Maltese tanker was not damaged and her crew sustained no injuries.
Ingstad is a Nansen-class frigate. The five ships in the class are the backbone of the Royal Norwegian Navy, and are capable warships. Ingstad was returning from participation in the NATO exercise Trident Juncture 18.
As more information becomes available, I will post it here, along with some thoughts about what this incident could mean for the Royal Norwegian Navy in the future.