(MENAFN) A district court in Hordaland, Norway, has reached a verdict of negligence against a Norwegian Navy officer who was in command of a frigate during a collision with an oil tanker. The incident occurred in November 2018 as the frigate, KNM Helge Ingstad, was returning from NATO exercises that marked the largest since the Cold War. The officer, who remains unidentified, was found guilty on Monday and received a 60-day conditional sentence.
The collision took place near the Sture oil terminal north of Bergen, resulting in severe damage to the warship. A hole was ripped in its side, leading to the evacuation of 137 crew members before the vessel sank. The incident also incurred significant financial losses, with the frigate's value estimated at $500 million. In contrast, the Maltese-flagged tanker, Sola TS, sustained only minor damage.
Due to the extensive and costly repairs required, the decision was made to scrap the naval vessel rather than undertake the daunting task of restoration. This incident served as a reminder of the potential risks involved in naval operations and the importance of maintaining vigilant command and control to ensure the safety of both personnel and assets.
By holding the commanding officer accountable for negligence, the district court emphasizes the responsibility of individuals in positions of command to uphold the highest standards of operational safety and decision-making. The verdict serves as a reminder of the consequences that can result from lapses in judgment or failures to adhere to established protocols. It also highlights the significance placed on preserving the integrity and reliability of naval forces, particularly during critical multinational exercises such as those conducted by NATO.
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