A preliminary investigation into the sinking of a Norwegian naval frigate as a result of a collision with an oil tanker earlier this month still has to determine a single reason for the incident, authorities said Thursday.
Norway’s Accident Investigation Board billed the accident ‘complex’, saying it wanted ‘to provide a brief update’ on the issue.
The agency noted that the collision led to the loss of ‘control of the rudder and propulsion’, which made the frigate move ‘uncontrolled’ to the shore, where it began to sink. In the aftermath of the accident, the agency also issued a safety warning to the Norwegian navy after finding out that the frigate didn’t have enough watertight compartments, and urged the navy to check if other vessels in the same class had the same issue.
A probe is under way into the collision of the Royal Norwegian Navy’s Helge Ingstad frigate and the fully loaded Sola TS oil tanker, which occurred near the Norwegian coast in Oygarden Island municipality in the early hours of November 8.
Overall, 127 people were evacuated due to the incident, with several people sustaining injuries. The Norwegian frigate was severely damaged and began to sink, but the authorities managed to beach it. Nevertheless, the warship sank five days later, when the steel ropes holding it in place broke. The frigate was under NATO command, en route to its home port in Bergen after participating in NATO's massive Trident Juncture exercise off Trondheim.
From October 25 through November 7, NATO conducted the biggest military drills since the end of the Cold War in Norway. Overall, 50,000 soldiers, military forces and equipment from all 29 NATO member states, as well as their strategic partners Sweden and Finland, were engaged in the rehearsal of a joint defence scenario of an offensive by a hypothetical enemy.