Norwegian Navy Officer Found Guilty Of Negligence In Oil Tanker Collision

A Norway-based naval officer was found to be guilty on Monday. He was sentenced to a two-month suspended prison sentence for his negligence, resulting in the 2018 collision between a warship he had commanded and an oil tanker in which the military vessel had sunk.

A replacement for the lost Helge Ingstad frigate may have cost about 13 billion crowns, the armed forces estimated in a report published in 2019.

The early morning crash between the Ingstad and the Sola TS crude carrier close to a major North Sea oil export terminal triggered multiple shutdowns of parts of Norway’s petroleum production. There wasn’t, however, any leak from the oil tanker.

Naval officer crashes ship into oil tanker and sinks it
A naval officer crashes a ship into an oil tanker and sinks it. Image Credit: Norwegian Coastal Administration

The defendant was the officer in charge of Ingstad’s bridge. He’d pleaded not guilty to negligence.

He typically takes it hard and is highly disappointed over the outcome, Christian Lundin, the officer’s lawyer, informed the reporters. He continues to think that it is not fair that he alone must take the blame for the accident.

The prosecution had also requested a four-month suspended prison sentence.

Members of the 137-member Ingstad crew earlier had described waking up in the middle of the night as water poured into the cabins and the alarms went off as they kept trying in vain to save the vessel, even though they suffered minor injuries.

Recordings of the communication between the vessels reflected the slow-moving Sola repeatedly, asking the faster Ingstad to change the course or encounter a collision. Still, the request was refused by the navy vessel that feared reaching too close to the shore.

A commission examining the collision said that the brightly lit Sola TS could have been difficult to distinguish from the close the terminal from where it set off, confusing the crew members of Ingstad.

A video from the tanker shows sparks flying as the two vessels collided, then tearing a gash in the warship’s side, which later on was recycled as scrap metal. The tanker, however, suffered some minor damage.

The collision also exposed several safety gaps in the Norwegian Navy, including insufficient training and inadequate risk assessment systems.

The defence ministry, later on, paid a fine estimated to be about 10 million crowns.

References: Reuters, Metro, Express

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