Helge Ingstad: Warship collides with tanker in fjord

A total of 127 people have been evacuated after a frigate collided with a tanker near the Norwegian coast, media reported on Thursday, adding that at least seven people were injured.

The KNM Helge Ingstad frigate collided with the tanker in a fjord in western Norway this morning and eight people were left injured.

The Maltese flagged tanker, Sola TS, was undamaged and its 23-man crew unhurt. There were fears it would sink as it took on water after the crash but it ran aground just off the shore near Bergen.

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.

Eight people received minor injuries in the accident, which took place shortly after 4:00 am (0300 GMT) in a busy waterway in the Hjeltefjord near Bergen, Norway's army said.

The 62,000-tonne tanker received only slight damage and is waiting to be towed to a nearby oil terminal, the rescue center official said.

Norway's largest oil and gas company Equinor, formerly known as Statoil, said it shut down non-emergency activities at the Sture terminal where the collision occurred "as a precautionary measure".

HNoMS Helge Ingstad was taking part in the NATO Trident Juncture exercises. The entire 137 person crew was evacuated from the ship. He declined to comment on what would happen to the weapons on board the ship.

There are no reports as to when the damaged navy vessel, which is part of NATO's Atlantic fleet, will be salvaged.

Output Loss There was no sign of a leak from the oil tanker, although it would return to port for inspection, the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre for southern Norway told Reuters.

The Sture Oil Terminal processes about 500,000 barrels a day of North Sea oil, including oil from the Ivar Åssen, Grane and Edvard Grieg fields.

The Accident Investigation Board added that because the tanker is Maltese-registered, the Marine Safety Investigation Unit of Malta will participate in the investigation.

Vanessa Coleman

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