Oslo (AP) – The end of NATO's "Trident Juncture" maneuver has been overshadowed by a serious shipwreck. On the way back to a naval base near Bergen, the Norwegian warship "KNM Helge Ingstad" collided with an oil tanker and hit it.
The 137 soldiers on board the frigate were saved. Eight people, however, were slightly injured. The "Sola TS" oil tanker, loaded with 625,000 liters of crude oil, was only slightly damaged. The team was unharmed.
How he arrived at the accident is not yet clear. The State Emergency Commission is now investigating the case. The tanker collided with the warship from an oil terminal in the Norwegian community Øygarden in Hordaland.
A tugboat that had accompanied the oil tanker registered in Malta was not involved in the accident, the navy said at a press conference.
The "Helge Ingstad" commissioned in 2009 is 133 meters long and has a displacement of 5290 tons. It carries a helicopter and is equipped with torpedoes and missiles for ship and air defense. During the NATO exercise, it was used in submarine hunting. He should not have had sharp ammunition on board. He tries to protect his arms from water, a marine spokesman said. The coastguard reported that the helicopter fuel aboard the frigate had run out.
After the collision initially a dozen men remained on board, but the frigate was no longer controllable. The ship landed, but threatened to lower due to the steep sea floor. The tugs pulled him closer to the ground to stabilize it. However, more and more water penetrated, so that the rest of the crew at 6 o'clock had to disembark. Shortly thereafter the helicopter deck was under water. The tugboats made several attempts to lift the frigate, but kept slipping into the list.
An attempt was made to secure the vehicle because of the risk of it sliding into deeper water, said Sigurd Smith of Naval Staff. When the ship is to be saved, it is not yet clear.
The Sture oil terminal was closed after the accident. Even the surrounding oil platforms have ceased production, which could have consequences for gas supplies to Europe.
Meanwhile, the Bundeswehr took a positive stock of its participation in NATO's biggest maneuver since the end of the Cold War. From a German point of view, the exercise in Norway was very good, said Brigadier General Michael Matz of the German news agency. For example, the transfer of troops and equipment worked smoothly. According to Matz, the development was identified as having room for improvement with some international partners, with whom it had not worked for a long time.
The Bundeswehr had transferred more than 8,000 troops to Norway for the great maneuver. This made Germany the second largest troop contributor in the United States. In total, about 50,000 soldiers from the 29 NATO member states, as well as partner countries Finland and Sweden took part in "Trident Juncture".
The teachings and results of "Trident Juncture" will be discussed according to NATO statements in the coming weeks and months at the headquarters in Brussels.