Tanker & Frigate collided in Hordaland

frigate collision tankerThe frigate KNM Helge Ingstad has a big rupture on the starboard side after the collision with the tanker. Photo: Marit Hommedal / NTB scanpix

Tanker & Frigate collided in Hordaland

A full evacuation of a warship is concluded after two ships collided outside the Sture-terminal in Hjeltefjord in Hordaland. The Frigate KNM «Helge Ingstad» takes in large amounts of water, according to VG. Eight crew members are slightly injured. The Frigate is run aground and stabilized.


In a press release, the police announce that is the oil tanker «Sola TS» and the Frigate KNM «Helge Ingstad» that are involved along with the tugboat «Tenax», which had the tanker under tow.

The fire service has been notified that it has leaked about ten cubic metres of oil from the frigate.

– We take action accordingly, Hartvigsen informs.

He states that the Frigate has taken in a lot of water and that it has lopsided a lot to starboard.

– But that seems to be stabilized now, Hartvigsen elaborates.

See live stream from NRK here.

Everybody evacuated

According to Commander on Watch in the Emergency Centre (110) in Hordaland, Ole Jakob Hartvigsen, there were 137 persons on board the frigate and 25 on the tanker, which was on its way out of the Sture-terminal when the collision occurred.

– Seven persons are injured. Firefighters, rescue boats and divers are on their way to the area. In addition, the fire service is in preparedness nearby on land. Evacuation has just begun, he says to VG just before 05.00 am on Thursday.

– The frigate lies with the bow all the way up to the shoreline. There is a big hole on the starboard side and there is no control over the influx of water, Officer in Charge at the Central Rescue Centre south, at Sola, Eirik Walle tells Dagbladet.

To NTB, the rescue leader says there is some danger that the frigate, which participates in the NATO exercise, Trident Juncture, will sink.

Currently, all crew is evacuated from the frigate. None of them appears to be seriously injured in the event.

Shuts the Sture-terminal down

Equinor has decided to shut down the operation at the plant.

– Personnel at Sture who do not have emergency service responsibilities are evacuated as well. Shutdown and evacuation are carried out as a precautionary measure, Equinor writes in a press release.

The Sture-terminal is an oil & gas terminal and transit port for crude oil and LPG.

Many vessels in the area

Right now, the vessels that are not directly linked to rescue operations have withdrawn and are at standby, reports the Red Cross, who assists in the rescue operation.

– The Frigate is grounded with the bow pointing to land. We and several others are in a position to ensure if it is sinking any further. The tanker seems to be ok, says Terje Hårvik, Captain of the Red Cross’ vessel in the area.

He informs that there are plenty of Navy vessels in the area (Haakonsvern in Bergen is the main base of the Norwegian Navy).

– In addition to us, there are several tugs and rescue vessels in the area. Everybody is evacuated from the vessel, so the danger with regard to life and health is over, Hårvik elaborates.

The Navy takes over the responsibility

The Frigate KNM «Helge Ingstad» was mentioned in VG a few weeks ago in advance of the major NATO exercise Trident Juncture in Norway.

At 7.30 am, Colonel Lieutenant and Press spokesperson at the Armed Forces Operating Headquarters, Ivar Moen, informs that the main responsibility for the salvage action is taken over by the Norwegian Armed Forces.

– It is too early to say how long the salvage will take at the moment. We look at all relevant capacities in the area to get started as soon as possible, but we do not have a full overview of the situation yet. We must get back to sustained damage at a later point in time, Moen tells VG.

Colonel Lieutenant and Press Spokesperson in the Armed Forces, Vegard Finberg, confirms to VG that the warship participates in the Trident Juncture.

– The Frigate is finished with the mission, and is on its way back to the base at Haakonsvern, Finberg explains and adds that the Armed Forces were notified of the accident at 04.15 am.

In immediate danger of sinking

The dramatic pictures from the area illustrate this. Several tugboats are now working hard to rescue the warship, but the Frigate is more and more lopsided.

The current tally is that eight persons are lightly wounded.

According to the Norwegian Accident Investigation Commission (Havarikommisjonen), three boats are involved in the collision. In addition to the frigate and the tanker, the tugboat «Tenax»  is also involved. The Norwegian Civil Investigation Commission writes this in a press release.

The tanker «Sola TS» er 250 metres in length and 44 metres wide. It is registered in Malta and owned by the Tsakos Group.
The tanker is slightly damaged well over the waterline. There are no reports of leaks from the tanker, the oil spill comes from helicopter fuel on

The Norwegian Coastal Authority informs that the tanker is inbound to berth at the quay at Sture.

No comment on the cause

The tracking of ships from Marine Trafficker indicates that the automatic identification system (AIS) was turned off on the frigate on Friday night. The Armed Forces neither confirm nor deny this.

– We have a one-sided focus on salvaging the vessel at the present time, so we will get back to the operating pattern and what happened later. The Norwegian Accident Investigation Commission is informed, and it is the ones who want to answer what has happened, says Moen.

The affected crew at a reception centre

The crew of KNM «Helge Ingstad» is affected and present at a reception centre at the Naval base, Haakonsvern in Bergen. The tally remains at eight injured crew members due to the collision.

The Armed Forces are holding a press conference after the collision between the Frigate KNM «Helge Ingstad» and the tanker «Sola TS» off the coast near the Sture-terminal in Hordaland in the early hours on Thursday.

– I have met the crew. They are characterized by what has happened, but we take good care of them, says the Navy’s Commander in Chief, Rear Admiral Nils Andreas Stensønes.

A reception centre has been established at Haakonsvern in addition to a centre for the relatives and a hot-line.

The Frigate lost steering after the collision

All systems worked normally onboard KNM «Helge Ingstad» until the collision, but the vessel lost control in the aftermath.

– It was decided to run the vessel aground to prevent it from capsizing, Officer in Command at the press conference, Sigurd Smith, states on Thursday.

– The vessel is damaged both above and below the waterline, which means that it is not stable, Smith continues.

As the Frigate lost control after the collision, tugboats were needed to manoeuvre it aground. This was done due to the bad seabed conditions in the area.

It was a real danger that the NOK billion vessel, which was grounded, could slide off and sink. The frigate was, therefore, run ashore in order to stabilize it more easily.

– We have no reason to believe anything but the management problems happened after the collision, but we must come back to that later, he elaborates.

The Armed Forces do not want to comment further on what might have caused the collision and refer to the investigations to be conducted by the Norwegian Accident Commission and the Police for further information.



The tear in the starboard side of the Frigate is clearly visible. Photo: Marit Hommedal / NTB scanpix

For more pictures & video from the accident visit VG.

See also

Oilfields shut down after frigate accident

Latest update is at 14.50 CET. More may follow still.


© VG.no / #Norway Today


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