US Navy officer could face questions in Norwegian frigate collision

The US Navy said that it expected one of its officers to be questioned as part of an investigation into the collision between Norwegian frigate Helge Ingstad and oil tanker Sola TS earlier this month.

The US Navy officer, who has not been identified, was on board the Norwegian navy frigate as part of a military personnel exchange. The officer’s role on the ship was not specified.

Norwegian naval officers grounded the frigate vessel in an attempt to stop it sinking, but the frigate effectively sank five days later cables holding it in place snapped.

US Navy Sixth Fleet spokesman Commander Kyle Raines said that “the US Navy has an officer assigned to the Personnel Exchange Program (PEP) with Norway as part of the crew of the KNM Helge Ingstad. This programme exchanges personnel from various military components to foreign countries to enhance interoperability with partner navies and services. The concept was born out of the need for partners and allies to share ideas and build relationships.”

Raines said that the US Navy was supporting the Norwegian investigation. Investigators would normally interview all officers on board military ships involved in collisions, so the US Navy expected the American officer to be questioned as well.

The Helge Ingstad was involved in a naval exercise last month — Trident Juncture 2018 — which included a US Navy aircraft carrier, the USS Harry S Truman.