Helge Ingstad: Warship collides with tanker in fjord

“KNM Helge Ingstad” at port in Hammerfest a few years ago

“KNM Helge Ingstad” at port in Hammerfest a few years ago

"The damage was such that the frigate was no longer stable and was not able to float sufficiently", a Norwegian Navy officer, Sigurd Smith, told reporters.

Greek Aframax tanker SOLA TS collided with Norway Navy frigate HNOMS HELGE INGSTAD in the morning Nov 8, probably around 0300 UTC, in North sea north of Bergen, Norway.

The frigate is believed to be the KNM Helge Ingstad, which took part in NATO's massive Trident Juncture 2018 wargames.

A total of 137 people were on board the frigate, while 23 were on the tanker, which was flying the Maltese flag, the official said.

Pictures show the 5,290 ton, 440 foot frigate lying low in the water as it sinks beneath the waves.

He said: "It is taking in more water than they can pump out".

The Navy quickly evacuated all the crew except for 10 essential staff members to prevent a possible fuel leak.

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

Tanker said not to suffer serious damages, as of 0530 UTC she was near collision site, moving in northern direction at dead slow speed, escorted by tug.

The frigate Helge Ingstad, now listing heavily to its port side, is loaded with torpedoes and weapons systems said to be unstable as a result of the collision.

Norway's Accident Investigation Board, which has opened an inquiry, had initially said a tugboat had also been involved in the collision but the Navy later denied that.

The tanker had earlier left Equinor's Sture terminal with a cargo of North Sea crude.

The frigate, built in Spain in 2009, has a helipad platform on its stern.

NATO's "Trident Juncture", the largest military exercise since the end of the Cold War, launched in Norway on October 25 and is due to run until November 7.

The frigate had received alerts from the tanker and from the Coastal Maritime Traffic Center Fedje VTS, sources have told the Norwegian news website, Aldrimer.

An image of the ship tipped to one side was posted with the comment.