"Trident Juncture": Norwegian frigate collides after NATO maneuvers with tanker
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Oslo (AP) - The end of the NATO maneuver "Trident Juncture" has been overshadowed by a serious shipwreck. On the way home to a naval base near Bergen, the Norwegian warship "KNM Helge Ingstad" collided with a tanker and smacked it.
The 137 soldiers aboard the F310 frigate were rescued. Eight people, however, were slightly injured.
The tanker «Sola TS», which was loaded with 625,000 liters of crude oil, was only slightly damaged. The team was unhurt.
How it came to the accident was initially unclear. The State Emergency Commission is now to investigate the case. The tanker had collided with the warship at the exit from an oil terminal in the Norwegian community Øygarden in Hordaland.
The latter had been built together with four other F310 frigates on a Spanish shipyard. The total value of the contract, according to the Spanish Ministry of Defense in 2004 amounted to 1.3 billion euros. A frigate cost at least 260 million euros. The Norwegian Ministry of Defense announced in the evening that "Helge Ingstad" is currently led in the accounting books with 1.8 billion crowns (about 190 million euros).
The ship put into service in 2009 is a good 133 meters long and has a displacement of 5290 tons. It carries a helicopter and is equipped among other things with torpedoes and with missiles for the ship and air defense. During the NATO exercise, she was used in the hunt of submarines. She should have had no sharp ammunition on board. Try to protect the weapons from water, said a marine spokesman. The Coast Guard reported that helicopter fuel that the frigate had on board had run out.
After the collision initially about ten men remained on board, but the frigate was no longer controllable. The ship landed, but threatened to sag due to the steep sea bottom. Tugs pulled it closer to land to stabilize it. Nevertheless, more and more water penetrated, so that the remaining crew at 6 o'clock had to disembark. A little later the helicopter deck was under water. Tugs made several attempts to raise the frigate in the morning, but it kept slipping into the list.
An attempt was made to secure the vehicle because of the risk of it sliding into deeper waters, said Sigurd Smith of the Naval Staff. When the ship is to be salvaged, is not yet clear.
The Sture Oil Terminal was temporarily closed for several hours after the incident. Even surrounding oil platforms had to temporarily stop production.
The Bundeswehr meanwhile took a positive stock of its participation in the largest NATO maneuver since the end of the Cold War. From a German point of view, the exercise in Norway went extremely well, said Brigadier General Michael Matz of the German Press Agency. For example, the transfer of troops and material worked smoothly. According to Matz, the tuning was identified as having room for improvement with some international partners, with whom it was not working for a long time.
The Bundeswehr had relocated more than 8,000 soldiers to Norway for the major maneuver. This made Germany the second largest troop contributor to the United States. In total, around 50,000 soldiers from the 29 NATO member states as well as the partner countries Finland and Sweden took part in "Trident Juncture".
The teachings and findings from "Trident Juncture" are to be discussed according to Nato statements in the coming weeks and months at headquarters in Brussels.