The sinking of the KNM Helge Ingstad looks like it could be a huge loss for the Norwegian navy, as it is one of only five elite frigates. Its very hard for a navy to lose a vessel, Admiral Nils Andreas Stensones, head of the Norwegian navy said Tuesday.
A top-of-the-line Norwegian warship collided with a tanker last week, causing the crew to intentionally run the ship aground to try to save it. But the ship unexpectedly sunk overnight, the latest images show.
The 5,000-ton frigate was part of a NATO fleet operating in the Atlantic prior to the collision.
The Norwegian Nansen-class frigate KNM Helge Ingstad collided with the massive Maltese oil tanker Sola TS last Thursday in Hjeltefjorden as it returned home from the Trident Juncture war games, NATO's largest joint-military exercises in decades.
The crippled ship was intentionally run aground to prevent it from sinking into the sea. All 137 crew members were evacuated. Eight people were injured, but unlike the tragic collisions involving the US Navy destroyers USS Fitzgerald and USS John McCain, there were no fatalities.
The Norwegian navy said Monday the damaged vessel had been secured to the shore with steel wires fixed to multiple anchor points.
Several wires suddenly snapped in the night, causing the ship to slide toward the sea. Salvage teams made every effort to save the ship, but the situation became unsafe, forcing them to abandon the ship to its fate.
The ship sank deep into the water with only the radar and antenna sticking out.
"It is too early to say what kind of damages there are," Commander Haavard Mathisen, head of salvage operations, said Tuesday. While there are plans to recover the sunken ship, it is unclear whether or not the onboard sensors and equipment can be saved.
How the frigate, one of the premier warfighting vessels of the Norwegian navy, failed to avoid the 800-foot tanker is a mystery, especially considering that the weather was clear, and there was radio contact between the two ships. An investigation is underway.
The sinking of the KNM Helge Ingstad looks like it could be a huge loss for the Norwegian navy, as it is one of only five elite frigates. "It's very hard for a navy to lose a vessel," Admiral Nils Andreas Stensones, head of the Norwegian navy said Tuesday.
Video: KNM Helge Ingstad mayday call with english subtitles
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