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VIDEO: Norwegian Frigate Intentionally Grounded After Collision with Tanker

Norwegian frigate KNM Helge Ingstad grounded after a collision with Sola TS. Norwegian Military Photo

This post was updated with additional photos from the Royal Norwegian Navy.

A warship is grounded at the edge of a fjord near the southwest coast of Norway after an early morning collision with an oil tanker on Thursday, NATO officials said.

Royal Norwegian Navy frigate HNoMS Helge Ingstad (F313) collided with the Malta-flagged oil tanker Sola TS at around 4 a.m. local time on Thursday (10 p.m. EST Wednesday) near the Equinor’s Sture oil terminal. The collision resulted in eight minor injuries on the warship.

Officials now are racing to save Helge Ingstad from sinking into the deep water just off the rocky edge of the fjord, after tugs pushed the 5,0000-ton frigate ashore to prevent the ship from sinking while the crew of 137 was evacuated.

According to a video released from the Norwegian Coastal Administration, the ship was listing on the rocks on its starboard side with its stern low in the water and surrounded by tugs. Photos released by the Norwegian Navy show a long gouge from amidship along the starboard quarter of the frigate.

“The Norwegian Armed Forces are working with the Norwegian Coastal Authority to address the situation,” read a statement from NATO Allied Maritime Command.

The frigate was conducting navigation training with other elements of Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 in the fjord following the Nov. 7 conclusion of the Trident Juncture 2018 exercise, NATO said. Helga Ingstad collided with the fully loaded Sola TS just after the tanker had departed the oil terminal. Ships from the group remain nearby to support the recovery efforts as needed, NATO said.

The U.S. amphibious warship USS Iwo Jima (LHD-7) is also operating nearby off the coast of Norway. So far, the U.S. Navy has not been asked to assist in the recovery efforts, U.S. Naval Forces Europe spokesman Capt. John Perkins told USNI News on Thursday morning.

While the circumstances around the Thursday collision are still unclear, the incident is reminiscent of two 2017 fatal collisions between two U.S. guided-missile destroyers and merchant ships in the western Pacific.

Damages to HNoMS Helge Ingstad after a collision with a merchant oil tanker on Nov. 8, 2018. Royal Norwegian Navy Photo

Without placing blame in the Thursday collision, the increased operational tempo of warships in general are pushing navies around the world harder and adding stress to operations, Eric Wertheim, author of U.S. Naval Institute’s Combat Fleets, told USNI News on Thursday.

“As you get ops tempo increasing, navies are going to be stressed. It’s not just the U.S.,” Werthheim said.
“The more you drive your ships, the more you’re going to have accidents.”

  • NavySubNuke

    Glad to hear everyone made it off safely. Hopefully they are able to stabilize the ship and get it off the rocks and repaired as well.
    Losing any major combatant is a big blow but she is only 9 years old and is one of only 5 AEGIS ship’s in Norway’s Navy so she is a huge percentage of their surface combat capability.

    • NavySubNuke

      Yikes based on those updated pictures that is going to be quite the job to get her righted, off the rocks, and into a graving dock. Never mind the actual repairs to all the damaged equipment.
      Just glad all the people are ok and hope no one is hurt or killed during the recovery.

    • PolicyWonk

      Gad – Its really painful to see that much damage on such a beautiful ship…

      • Lots of Prayer for the victims.

  • Ed L

    Shows a real presence of mind to be able to beach her in the shallows and without the lost of any crewmen

    • Tom-Einar Nikolaisen

      The ship had neither propultion or stearing after the crash. Not much presence of mind on the bridge that nigth…

      • waveshaper1

        It’s a good thing this happened near an oil terminal that was loaded with lots of tugs. The tugs only had to push/steer the sinking ship about a mile to ground it.

        • Tom-Einar Nikolaisen

          The tanker was followed by a tug, but I do not know if it was the one that beached the frigate.
          But it was not until 5 hours after the crash, around 9 AM, that a military tug arrived where the frigate was beached, and pushed it HARD ashore…
          (The sivil tugs had in the meantime kept it safe in place, they even talked on TV about preparing a tow… As the military tug was plowing the frigate ashore 🙂 )

          edit: it is now hooked up to wires anchored in the rock on land, so not to slide into the sea

          • waveshaper1

            The Tug (tugs name is TENEX) following the tanker stayed with the tanker. There are a bunch of tugs docked at the very large oil terminal which is located only about 2 or 3 miles from where the collision happened. I believe these tugs responded and did the initial push of the tanker toward shore. Also, the real time, AIS track of the Tanker Sola TS and its escort Tug Tenex is now available online. You can see exactly where the collision occurred, both the Tanker and Tug were transmitting AIS data before and after the collision, and the Tug had to make some fast evasive maneuvers at the last moment to avoid also getting hit by the Frigate. The Frigate wasn’t transmitting AIS data before the collision but shortly after the collision (within minutes) it started transmitting AIS data. You can see the ships AIS show here; Google “Video: AIS Animation Shows Collision Between Oil Tanker and Norwegian Frigate”.

  • b2

    A mishap but cool recovery to remedy sitaution and remain recoverable. USNI please follow up and tell us how it goes. TIA.

  • DaSaint

    She’s all the way over on her side. Reminds me of the Costa Concordia…
    It’s going to be difficult to get her off those rocks. Hope they can patch and refloat her. This design is a scaled-down version of the F-100 from Navantia. I wonder how long it took her to list and settle like that.

    • muzzleloader

      And like the Costa Concordia, the ship is partially submerged near the edge of a deep shelf. When the Concordia was raised what was striking was how the hull plates that the ship rested on were utterly destroyed because of all that weight on them. One wonders what this vessel will look like.
      The Concordia was a behomoth, and raising her was marvel of engineering. This frigate should be less challenging to raise. The Europians have some of the best salvaging firms are in the world.

      • Duane

        While the salvage team were able to raise the Costa Concordia, she still ended up being a total loss. The salvage, towing, and ship-breaking cost ended up being about three times the original cost to build her just half a dozen years earlier.

        • muzzleloader

          Yes, the insurance companies definitely got soaked, (no pun intended) The Concordia was open to the sea for 10 months which totally ravaged her, with very little left to salvage. I wonder how many machinery spaces will be a total loss on this frigate after she is raised.

    • delta9991

      The settling almost on her side happened very quickly. Tugs we’re pushing her to try and prevent from sliding into deeper water but she eventually rolled to her current position and the tugs had to back off. I wish I could put links in for the time lapse which shows it; they’re on a Norwegian website that was linked on reddit

      • Hugh

        A T-bone can take out a couple of compartments and often the ship can still float, a glancing blow can take out many compartments and often sink her.

        • delta9991

          Just was stating what happened. Not trying to make this a willy waving contest between our allied NATO navies vessels and crews

      • Tom-Einar Nikolaisen

        The settling happened quickly yes, but 5 hours after the crash. 😉

        • delta9991

          Yes, should have clarified the overall time portion. Thank you!

    • Curtis Conway

      This reminds us of just why watertight integrity and compartmentalization in our US Navy Survivability Standard is so important.

      • USNVO

        The Navy floodable compartment standard is a continuous 15pct of the waterline anywhere on ship open to the sea (or two compartments on smaller ships). From the picture, this obviously exceeded that (looks like at least 50pct, knocking out all power and propulsion). Any ship will sink with that kind of damage, it is just a matter of how long it will take. Thankfully there were tugs immediately available to push it aground.

    • Duane

      With a gash that large at or along the waterline, it would not take very long at all to sink … just minutes. It appears that the bridge team (and CO?) at least had the presence of mind to steer her to shore as their only hope of preventing a total sinking, which likely saved lives. But a rocky shore like that also did it’s own damage to the underwater hull, as she was likely to be making way at a pretty good clip when she hit bottom. Very good chance that the hull will be a total loss.

  • Ser Arthur Dayne

    I just don’t understand how you miss a motherfreaking supertanker coming at you.

    it boggles my mind.

    And why not shoot them? Hey supertankers or cargo carriers or whoever, don’t drive at the ships with big guns and lots of missiles because they can shoot you.

    It seems to me it really is that simple.

    • tom dolan

      The tanker probably couldn’t get out of the way. That frigate was poorly handled until after the collision which leads me to believe a junior officer was the OOD until relieved by a better ship handler .

      • PolicyWonk

        Indeed – a supertanker needs to plan ahead for any turns they need to make in anything other than open ocean. For that matter, in confined waterways, even coastal tankers have to plan very carefully.

        A military-grade frigate, comparatively speaking, can turn on a dime.

    • Horn

      4:00am with a New Moon. It’s really easy to miss a few boat lights at night if there are any lit along the coast.

    • BillyP

      Ummm, .. .. Collision Regulations? Or are all grey ships exempt?

    • Tom-Einar Nikolaisen

      Helge Ingstad was contacted several times via radio prior to the accident, and informed of the collision-risk. They replyed “We’ve got it under control”.

      They didn’t…

      And how INSANE would you have to be to fire missiles at a full tanker very close to a oil-terminal? Pretty stupid joke…

      • waveshaper1

        Yep. The collision tracking maps are out and the Helge Ingstad looks like it cut right in front of the outbound tanker at about a 45 degree angle. Tanker Sola TS AIS data at time of collision;

        – 2:59 UTC; Sola TS – 350 degrees, 6.7 knots.
        – 3:00 UTC; Collision, Helge Ingstad cut right in front of the outbound tanker at about a 45 degree angle.
        – 3:01 UTC; Sola TS – 009 degrees, 6.5 knots.
        – 3:02 UTC; Sola TS – 017 degrees, 5.6 knots.
        – etc.

        • Tom-Einar Nikolaisen

          I am willing to bet you the average age on the bridge was 22, maybe 23. And I am also willing to bet several of them were conscripts…

          Norway saves thousands in wages, just loosing the occasional halfabillion ship…

  • Ed L

    terrorism ??

  • omegatalon

    Makes you wonder what could have happened especially as this ship was a participant in the US lead Trident maneuvers.

  • I hope they exchanged insurance info. It’s gona be one huge and costly repair bill. Let’s hope the warranty covers it

    • RobM1981

      In a post full of funnies (since nobody was injured), that one got me to laugh…

    • RobM1981

      It would make a humdinger in one of those Farmer’s ads…

      • muzzleloader

        “ We insure it all because we’ve seen it all”!

  • Marauder 2048

    10 yard penalty.

    • RobM1981

      Or to the spot of the pass, for Intentional Grounding

  • BillyP

    It is reported (in Maritime Executive Report) that the frigate’s AIS was turned off (what? again?). Was she also blacked out and stealthy? She had her Starboard side ripped open by a lumbering tanker. Seeing a time series positions of the two ships would be interesting. Doesn’t look too good on the shiphandling front so far.

  • thebard3

    “The frigate was conducting navigation training…”.

    Uh, yeah.

    • RobM1981

      Now they know what a collision is. I’d have to call that successful training…

  • Dana Luke

    Relax, all right?

    My old man is a television repairman.

    He’s got this ultimate set of tools.

    I can fix it!

    • Oskar

      Meh.
      It’ll buff out.

      Glad to hear everyone is safe.

  • waveshaper1

    Here’s some updated info; Excerpt;
    The tanker “Sola TS” was departing from the oil terminal Sture at the time of the collison.

    Equinor, operator of the terminal informs that operations at the terminal are now shut-down in standard security procedures and the only workers still at the terminal are there to maintain safety.

    Information about the cause of the collision is yet to be made public. Happening just outside Sture oil terminal, the accident raises a lot of questions. Here, the shipping is strictly controlled and oil tankers leaving the port are always followed by tugs and pilot.

    A third vessel, a tug following the tanker, was near, but not directly involved in the collision.

  • RobM1981

    Nothing that a can of Bondo and a lick of paint can’t fix…

  • Elbert Colorado

    How does a Norwegian admiral view his fleet? …with a glass bottomed boat. lol What can you expect from those military deadbeats.

    • Tom-Einar Nikolaisen

      LOOL

      The last time we lost an invation was over a millenia ago, how’s your tally? You fat fvcks…

      • Redsoxmaineiac

        Actually it was 70 years ago. Or does WW2 history not get taught in Norwegian schools? 😉 For what it’s worth I didn’t think the joke was funny either.

        No one was killed and that’s the important takeaway. It looks like the bulbous bow on the Sola TS just gashed away on the frigate hull like the iceberg on Titantic. It’s a miracle no one was killed in those spaces.

        • Tom-Einar Nikolaisen

          When I was 18 I was forced to buy the Oxford dictionary.

          You can just google if you are in doubt.

          But it you do not understand the difference between “an invation” and “beeing invaded”, you have to be american….

      • Oskar

        LOL!

        The last time I checked, zee Germans rolled into Norway in the 40’s rather easily.

        • Tom-Einar Nikolaisen

          When I was 18 I was forced to buy the Oxford dictionary.

          You can just google if you are in doubt.

          But it you do not understand the difference between “an invation” and “beeing invaded”, you have to be american….

          And since you obviously did not know: we were the first to give the germans a hiding here in northern Norway. But big politics trumped the heroes of Narvik. (Google it, wait for the movie, or even play battelfiel V (I dont))
          Even google Mowinckel, and his connections in London…

          • Redsoxmaineiac

            If only that dictionary had helped your spelling. It certainly didn’t help your syntax. ‘An invasion’ could mean one you are conducting against another country or one you are repelling. That phrasing isn’t specific to one or the other. Given the way you phrased it, I am correct that the last invasion you lost was in the 40s. And no one is denying the bravery of Norwegian soldiers against the Germans. You are the only one here other than Mr. Glass bottom who is insulting whole nationalities. So chill out.

            Any word on the helicopter carried by the KMS Helge Ingstad? Was it one of the NH90s?

          • Tom-Einar Nikolaisen

            Well, that was quite embarrassing 🙂

            But my disdain for american imperialism is so strong that my temper fly off… My apologies for poor english…
            My point was that it is very annoying to read comments like that, from gung-ho propagandaboys who think war is a job or entertainment.

            We share a border with Russia, this is not a game to us.

            And the NH90’s are a disaster. 14 years delayed already, and not expected to be fully operational before 2022… The ones operating is reported to cost $20K an hour. It’s even called a scandal by the “thing”(assembly).

            edit:
            no words on any NH90 aboard, so I guess slow delivery saved us a chopper atleast…
            The frigate is almost totaly under water as we speak, several wires in the front have loosend during the nigth, and the ship is several meters deeper than yesterday. Seems to be a total loss…

          • Oskar

            “When I was 18 I was forced to buy the Oxford dictionary.”

            “But it you do not understand the difference between “an invation” and “beeing invaded”, you have to be american….”

            Oh, the irony!

          • Tom-Einar Nikolaisen

            Rule to self: Never combine beer and trying to be rude in your third language…

  • Curtis Conway

    I wonder if she was a BMD shooter?

    • USNVO

      No, they only carry ESSM and have the smaller SPY-F.

  • Duane

    It is not acceptable to write this accident off as due to the stress of ships being sailed, as the spokesman suggested, and as many said last year about the US Navy collisions. Sailing is what ships are meant, intended, designed, and operated to do. That is just excuse mongering. The more a ship sails, the more skilled its officers and crew should expect to become.

    Whatever happened, it will come down to operator error, and likely that error will be due to more than one cause. Just as our own Navy review boards found. Apparently the Norwegians didn’t use the opportunity of the US Navy collisions to review their own practices and make necessary changes.

    • Bubblehead

      The high op tempo of the American destroyers had everything to do with the accidents. Read the report. Lack of training, lack of sleep, high op tempos is cause of many military mishaps. You can call it an excuse, I will call it a main mitigating factor in the accident. Whatever Symantecs that floats your boat.

  • Michael Lopez

    According to reports, she didn’t collide with anything. She was moored and was RAMMED by the Tanker.

    • Centaurus

      Looks like an Al Quieda hit like on the USS Cole. Lets launch some SLCM’s at Tali camps in Sudan . Killing is good for the soul

      • BillyP

        Umm … now that we can se the track charts, AND are aware of the pre-collision communications, would either of you like to amend your comments?

    • BillyP

      Come to think of it, consider the practical implications of “mooring” in the Bergen Fjord. Just how much anchor cable do these frigates carry?

      • waveshaper1

        After reviewing the “Bergen (Marine Chart : NO_NO5H1010)” it looks like the depth is 839.9 ft where the collision occurred (must zoom in to see location/depth). Anchor line scope ratio is typically 7 to 1 (7:1), so they would need 5879.3 feet of cable/chain (I’m not sure how much scope a frigate requires):<)

        • BillyP

          Thank you – my point exactly, and that hasn’t factored in the composition of the sea bed. I would be mighty surprised if it was a Good Holding Ground.

      • Michael Lopez

        Actually I stand corrected. The initial reports were apparently wrong. She wasn’t moored but did cut in front of the Tanker. Sorry for my mistake.

        • BillyP

          Thanks for that. No woes, no proes.

  • Tom-Einar Nikolaisen

    🙂 OK…

    I see you have missed the point here. The tanker had rigth of way, AND Helge Ingstad were contacted with warnings on the dangerous course…

    AND: The tanker knew they were heading for a collision, but what could they do? The frigate were “in control” (direct qoute”)

    Nothing unfortunate here, just incompetance and youth…

  • Guess what – you shoot a 50,000+ ton tanker that’s about to run you over and you still get run over. I’m not sure if even a nuke would have enough energy to stop one of those things in its tracks.

    • BillyP

      She is a 112,000 dwt tanker

  • Bubblehead

    NATO is now saying Russia was jamming/interfering with GPS signals during the exercise. If this was a factor in the collision you can look for NATO to be thoroughly pissed.

    Putin is a play yard bully. He will push you around until you push back. And he will not stop until the cost is greater than the reward. NATO has to learn to stand their ground and fight back or it will only get worse.

    For starters, stop buying his oil and gas (GERMANY!!!). I promise you that would get his attention fast. And the attention of his political enemies.

    NATO loves crying about Putin. How bad he is. But they buy his gas by the millions of gallons, are building new pipelines to Europe, and are the ones propping up Putin. If Europe stopped buying Putins gas, Putin would be overthrown in a few years. He couldn’t survive.

    • BillyP

      If the frigate was using GPS to feel its way around a 120K dwt tanker moving at 6 knots – -then I am flabbergasted!
      I’m not debating whether the GPS being interfered with – that has been reported elsewhere – but was it relevant to the collision? Maybe the hack-free #1 eyeball might have been more effective .. .. a knowledge of, and compliance with, the ColRegs would have helped also.