Collision Sinks Navy Ship

Norway's navy reeling from loss of KNM Helge Ingstad
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 17, 2018 10:33 AM CST
Oil Tanker Sinks Navy Ship
The Norwegian frigate "KNM Helge Ingstad" lays partly submerged in the sea near Bergen, western Norway, Tuesday Nov. 13, 2018.   (Marit Hommedal, NTB scanpix via AP)

(Newser) – A Norwegian warship has pretty much sunk after colliding with an oil frigate and getting a nasty hole torn in its side, CNN reports. The KNM Helge Ingstad, one of five frigates in the nation's navy, was navigating western Norway's inner fjords earlier this month when it struck a Malta-registered oil tanker. The Ingstad ended up on underwater rocks—either driven by the savvy crew or simply drifting over, per Defense News—so it didn't sink, and the crew of 137 abandoned ship. Sadly, efforts to secure the $400 million frigate failed when wires attached to it broke. Now only the Ingstad's radar, antennas, and top remain above water. "This is a huge blow to the Norwegian navy,” says Sebastian Bruns, a maritime strategy expert in Germany.

Seems the tanker, Sola TS, warned the Ingstad several times of their impending collision—but the Ingstad feared altering course and hitting the shoals. The Ingstad had also turned off a tracking system that helps area ships see collisions coming. The Maritime Executive notes that eight crew members were injured and some fuel spilled in the Nov. 8 incident. Experts say the Navy ship was no match for a fully loaded, 150,000-ton oil tanker that's 10 times its size; what's more, warships are often made of thinner metal to aide maneuverability and speed. "Naval ships are no longer the biggest ships on the seas,” says Bruns. "In many cases, it's a bit like a mouse-vs-elephant comparison." Maltese and Norwegian investigators are probing the incident. (Commanders of US Navy ships have been charged with homicide after deadly collisions.)

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