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Norway naval officer goes on trial over oil tanker collision



A Norwegian naval officer is being charged with negligence for the collision of a warship that he commanded and an oil tanker in 2018. The military vessel was destroyed.

A 2019 report estimated that the cost to replace the Helge ship with a new one would reach 13 billion crowns.

The early morning collision between the Ingstad crude carrier, and the loaded Sola TS crude transport caused some parts of Norway’s petroleum production to be affected. The oil tanker was uninjured.

The Ingstad crew, which consisted of 137 people, reported being awakened by water coming into their cabins in the middle of the nights. They tried to save their ship by setting off alarms but failed. They only suffered minor injuries.

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The defendant was at the time the officer responsible to Ingstad’s bridge.

Magne Kvamme Slta, the prosecution, stated that “he didn’t show caution and didn’t take precautions required for safe navigation.”

Christian Lundin, defendant’s lawyer, stated that he feels unfairly blamed for the incident and would not plead guilty.


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Recordings of communication between the vessels showed that the slower Sola repeatedly asked the faster Ingstad to alter its course or risk colliding. The navy ship refused the request, fearing too close to shore.

A commission that investigated the collision found that Sola TS was too brightly lit to be able to find the terminal nearest, confusing Ingstad crew.

Video footage taken from the tanker shows sparks flying as the two collide. This caused a gash to the warship’s side, which was then recycled into scrap metal. The tanker sustained minimal damage.

The collision exposed safety flaws in the Norwegian navy’s training system and risk assessment systems as well as poor training. The defense ministry was later fined 10,000,000 crowns.

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