Norwegian Frigate Intentionally Run Aground After Collision

A Norwegian warship is in bad shape after a night time collision with a civilian vessel. The captain of the frigate HNoMS Helge Ingstad deliberately ran it aground after the collision, allegedly to prevent her from sinking. Helge Instad is one of NATO’s most capable small warships.

The incident took place in Hjeltefjorden, east of the Norwegian city of Bergen. The Helge Ingstad collided with the Maltese-flagged tanker Sola TS as the tanker left the Sture oil shipment terminal with a load of crude oil.

Sola TS has a gross weight of 62,000 tons; Helge Instad has a gross weight of 5,130 tons.

It’s not clear who hit whom, but the Norwegian warship was severely damaged under the waterline. Reports indicate the captain of the ship deliberately ran it aground in order to save it, and the ship is currently at a roughly 20 degree angle, with the stern of the ship, particularly the helicopter flight deck, underwater. A large gash is visible on the ship in a location typically above the waterline, but that section of the ship is currently underwater.

Eight Norwegian Navy sailors suffered minor injuries. The entire 137 person crew was evacuated from the ship. The Sola TS suffered minimal damage and there were no reports of injuries or leaking oil. The oil terminal and nearby Kollsnes gas plant both shut down as a precaution.

Ingstad off the coast of Cyprus, 2014.


HNoMS Helge Ingstad is one of five Fritjof Nansen class frigates and one of NATO’s most capable, heavily armed ships. The Nansens were built at El Ferrol shipyards in Navantia, Spain, and Ingstad was commissioned into Norwegian Navy service in 2009. The ships are armed with a 76-millimeter Oto Melara SuperRapid dual purpose gun, eight Naval Strike Missiles, 32 Evolved Sea Sparrow air defense missiles, four .50 caliber machine guns, four anti-submarine torpedoes, and a NH-90 helicopter. The Nansens are some of the smallest ships to be equipped with the U.S. Navy’s Aegis Combat System, using a scaled-down version of the same radar used by the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers.

The collision between Ingstad and Sola TS is similar to the collisions between the USS McCain and USS Fitzgerald in the Pacific Ocean. Seventeen US Navy sailors were killed in the collisions, which involved U.S. Navy 7th Fleet destroyers and commercial shipping.