Experts estimate that up to 80 percent of the equipment of the shipwrecked frigate, which cost the Norwegian Navy almost its entire annual budget, will have to be replaced.
The Norwegian daily Aftenposten has released fresh photos of the KMN Helge Ingstad frigate, which under unclear circumstances collided with the tanker Sola TS off Norway’s coast when returning from a NATO drill.
The frigate received a huge hole in the starboard spanning across the waterline; seven seamen were injured. The crew abandoned the sinking ship which was subsequently tugged to shallow waters to prevent it from sinking.
A few days after the incident, which is still puzzling the Norwegian authorities, the frigate remains above surface, but has completely sunk to the bottom, with a 45-degree lurch to the starboard. Over 10 tons of helicopter fuel has leaked into the seawater.
No information about the status of the weapons abroad, including cruise and anti-aircraft missiles, torpedoes and artillery, is available as of today.
By contrast, the oil tanker Sola TS was not affected by the accident.
The reasons for the emergency are under investigation by a navy commission. Possible explanations for the collision include the frigate moving in stealth mode with the transponder switched off or bad communications with traffic controllers.
A veteran maritime expert estimated that the KNM Helge Ingstad has suffered so much damage that up to 80 percent of the equipment will…