NATO Incompetence: Norwegian Frigate Crashes Into Tanker Then Capsizes

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Daily Mail
Norwegian NATO frigate ‘was warned it was on a collision course’ with oil tanker but said ‘We’ve got control’… before smashing into the vessel and running aground

One of the biggest warships in the Norwegian navy was warned repeatedly it was on a collision course with a Britain-bound oil tanker before the two vessels smashed into each other, it has been claimed.

Crew on board the KNM Helge Instad, part of a NATO fleet in the Atlantic, insisted they ‘had control’ before smashing into Sola TS in Sture, north of Bergen, Norway.

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. But ship management are said to have responded: ‘We are in control’ in the run-up to the crash.

Some 10,000 litres of helicopter fuel from the frigate has leaked into the sea after the collision tore a large hole in its side, the military said. The frigate’s 137 crew members were evacuated amid fears that it may sink.

Eight people on the KNM Helge Instad were injured in the 4am collision said Rear Adm. Nils Andreas Stensoenes, the head of Norway’s navy. Two of them were taken to a nearby hospital.

The ship, which had recently taken part in the vast Trident Juncture NATO military drill in Norway, is ‘strongly listing,’ Stensoenes told a news conference Thursday afternoon. The frigate was lying in the water almost on its side with its stern under the water.

The 442ft long frigate, built in Spain in 2009, is part of a NATO fleet in the Atlantic. The alliance has been informed of the accident, he said.

The Maltese-flagged oil tanker, Sola TS, was not damaged and its 23-man crew remained on board. The shipping site Sysla reported the tanker had been loaded with crude oil and was on its way to Britain.


Stensoenes said the cause of the accident was not clear and the Navy would wait for the findings of Norway’s Accident Investigation Board. Earlier reports had said a towboat was also involved in the collision, but Stensoenes denied that report.

He said the frigate had been pushed by towboats into shallow water where it could not sink fully.

‘We are in a security phase for the time being,’ he said. He declined to comment on what would happen to the weapons on board the ship.

Some 10,000 liters of helicopter fuel from the frigate has leaked into the sea, said Johan Marius Ly of the Norwegian Coast Guard. The fuel was expected to evaporate quickly.

Norway’s largest oil and gas company, Equinor, formerly known as Statoil, said its non-emergency activities at the Sture terminal where the collision occurred were shut down as a precaution for many hours but were gradually starting up again late Thursday afternoon.

The Accident Investigation Board said because the tanker is Maltese-registered, the Marine Safety Investigation Unit (MSIU) of Malta will participate in the investigation.

19 COMMENTS

  1. As the main route north out of Bergen passing a major oil terminal this is a highly regulated stretch of water with any ship over 80m long having to request permission to enter one hour before doing so. Constant contact with the maritime control center is enforced. Strangely the figate didn’t switch its AIS on until after the collision.

  2. From the Dagblad newspaper
    Major technical shortcomings
    In 2017, the Office of the Auditor General provided a crushing report on the defense’s five frigates.
    “There are such big deficiencies in their technical condition, access to spare parts, crew and training, that the ships do not have the operational capability presupposed by the Parliament,” said Per-Kristian Foss, Auditor General, when he in February 2017 submitted the Office of the Auditor General’s investigative report on the frigate force operational capacity thtarliament.

    • LS…
      Our Prime Minister Mark Rutte told the press: The Russians did it ! But there were no flying magnetrons around ?!

    • Ship collisions are not uncommon, especially in heavily trafficked waters, such as the English Channel, or the entrance to major ports. Causes can be alcohol, lack of attention, fog, and even the use of radar. The so called “radar collisions” constitute a tricky and deceitful but very real danger. They tend to occur when the presence of an operating radar system causes the navigators to think the radar is a guarantee against mishaps. But in many situations radar signals and images have been misunderstood, because they speak a funny kind of non-intuitive language. In the same way, I suspect that overly reliance on electronic equipment may also, in some cases, be the cause rather than the cure. ( For the present case, however, we’ll just have to wait and see what the investigations bring to light )

    • My guess it was on auto-pilot while the boys were playing with their smartphones and the rest parting below deck.

    • I’d say the probability of collision does not depend on ship type. The probability does, however, depend on size: Big ships are more likely to collide than small ones. Statistically speaking, a war ship will tend to collide just as often as a commercial ship. Perhaps even more, because of all the fancy electronic equipment, that would tend to confuse many an operator.
      And what of the mentioned “Russian” scenario? It is not difficult to envision a number of parties wanting to demonstrate or test the latest kind of EW equipment. How about fake GPS signals ?

  3. Hmmmmmm, first two U.S. Navy ships collide with Chinese freighters earlier this year and now a Norwegian vessel collides with an oil tanker. Is their a connection here? Or coincidence?
    Of course it could be someone was asleep at the wheel.
    Or someone gave a direct order.
    “We have investigated ourselves and found no one was at fault.” Norwegian Navy spokesperson.
    Next time get some real sailors….Vikings! They may though, want to raid a few monasteries on the British coast, ………”What’s in your wallet?”
    Any videos? Another Youboob addition to boating fails. Like the ones with drunken rednecks trying to launch a boat, or removing one from the water….boat ramp follies.
    Was the boat made from Norwegian Wood?
    So I lit a fire, isn’t it good, Norwegian Wood.

  4. ” The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest of the world’s oceans, with an area of about 106,460,000 square kilometers (41,100,000 square miles).[2][3] It covers approximately 20 percent of the Earth’s surface and about 29 percent of its water surface area. It separates the “Old World” from the “New World”.”
    It’s more profound when stated 41 million square miles.
    Live Map current marine traffic – https://www.marinetraffic.com/en/ais/home/centerx:-12.0/centery:25.0/zoom:2

  5. My first two thoughts are, Norwegian sailors are reputable. The exercise ended with renewed calls for a EU military. https://americanmilitarynews.com/2018/11/frances-macron-calls-for-european-army-to-counter-us-china-russia/ “French President Emmanuel Macron has called for a “true European army” to counter threats from major powers like the U.S., China and Russia.”
    This series of collisions have many similarities. Is it time to examine electronic warfare as an active scenario playing out on the oceans ? I can see the upside to preventing public discourse on the subject, especially now, but also the danger is power could be shifting without an informed populace. It could all be an accident, or it could be negligence regarding “duty to warn”.