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Norwegian Warship Close To Sinking After Collision With Oil Tanker

Eight people have been injured in a collision between Norwegian warship KNM Helge Ingstad and a Maltese oil tanker. All 137 of the ship’s crew have been evacuated.

The Helge Ingstad was returning from the NATO Trident Juncture 18 exercises when it collided with the Maltese oil tanker Sola–which is reportedly undamaged and resuming its route from Norway to a terminal in northeast England, according to the website Marine Traffic.

Norwegian newspaper Aldrimer reports that the oil tanker and maritime traffic authorities repeatedly radioed warnings to the frigate that they were on a collision path, but the Helge Ingstad’s captain said it had control. Shortly thereafter, the warship drove into the oil tanker with great force in the Hjeltefjord near Bergen.

The frigate lost power and control after the crash Sola, and the ship was pushed by tugboats into shallow water where it can’t fully sink. Both Norway’s Accident Investigation Board and Malta’s Marine Safety Investigation Unit will investigate the collision, as the tanker was registered in Malta.

The Equinor Sture oil shipment terminal, from which the oil tanker left fully loaded, was closed as a precautionary measure but reopened Thursday. The state-controlled terminal is the loading point for about 15% of the country’s crude. Total, Shell and ExxonMobil were all due to take on loads there in the next few days, according to the November loading programs seen by Platts.

The Trident Juncture 18 event are the biggest NATO exercises since the Cold War in the 1980s.