Norwegian naval officer found guilty of negligence in 2018 warship sinking

Photo: Norwegian Coastal Administration

A Norwegian court has found an officer of the Royal Norwegian Navy guilty of negligence in connection with a maritime incident wherein a warship collided with a commercial vessel in the North Sea and later sank.

The defendant, whose name has not been made public, was the watch officer on the Fridtjof Nansen-class frigate HNoMS Helge Ingstad when it collided with the oil tanker Sola TS off the coast of Oygarden in Vestland county at around 04:26 local time on November 8, 2018.

The frigate suffered water ingress and sank five days later on November 13. Eight sailors suffered slight injuries though all 137 of the frigate’s crew were safely rescued.

Helge Ingstad was raised from the seabed and transported to Royal Norwegian Navy base at Haakonsvern in late February 2019. However, Norwegian defence officials ultimately decided to have the frigate scrapped after an assessment revealed the estimated repairs would cost more than acquiring a new warship.

The defendant has been given a suspended jail sentence of 60 days. He has continuously denied the charge of negligent navigation, which the prosecution said was the main cause of the collision.

The individual admitted some responsibility but was “disappointed with the outcome” of the court proceedings, local news outlet NTB reported.

The defendant pointed out that he could not be held solely responsible for the incident as mistakes were also committed by the tanker’s crew and by maritime traffic centre personnel who were on duty at the time.

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