The commanding officer of the frigate Helge Ingstad claimed that the tanker that the frigate struck was at fault because it was navigating outbound on the near side of the fjord.
The officer of the watch on Helge Ingstad has been charged with negligence in connection with the ship’s loss. While the frigate’s commanding officer said that the tanker is at fault, the pilot of the tanker insists that the route was standard practice and a prudent choice.
Aboard the tanker Sola TS, the pilot spotted Helge Ingstad’s lights when the frigate was still four nautical miles out. The frigate was not broadcasting AIS, and the pilot did not know the oncoming vessel’s name.
He attempted to make contact with the unknown ship three times, but without success. After a while, he asked the VTS service to help identify the target.
After several calls, the VTS operator identified the target as the Helge Ingstad, and the pilot finally got a response. Helge Ingstad’s bridge team acknowledged the pilot’s final warning to turn, but they maintained course and speed until it was too late.
The crash between the Ingstad and the fully loaded Sola TS crude carrier near a major North Sea oil export terminal triggered shutdowns of parts of Norway’s petroleum production.
While, there was no leak from the oil tanker, members of the 137-strong Ingstad crew described waking up in the middle of the night as water poured into their cabins and alarms went off as they tried to save the ship, although they suffered only minor injuries.
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