Norway launches operation to salvage sunken frigate

Three months after a 5,000-ton warship sank, Norwegian officials began an operation to haul the vessel from the bottom of the sea.

Norway launches operation to salvage sunken frigate
Cranes and boats attempt to salvage parts of the KNM Helge Ingstad after it crashed in November. Photo: NRK/AFP

Norway began an operation on Tuesday to haul a 5,000-ton warship from the sea three months after it sank.

The KNM Helge Ingstad frigate was almost totally submerged in a fjord near the western city of Bergen after it collided with an oil tanker in November. Investigators said the frigate's crew appeared to have confused the Maltese tanker with land.

Authorities deployed four cranes and two barges to salvage the ship, with favorable weather conditions allowing the operation to go ahead. The operation is expected to take several days, the Norwegian army said. Eight of the 137 people aboard the frigate suffered minor injuries when it crashed returning from NATO exercises.

Authorities plan to load the ship on to a semi-submerged barge, unload its weapons and then transport it to a military port to determine whether it can be repaired. 

The operation is expected to cost at least 500 million krone (51 million euros, $58 million), according to Norwegian press reports.  

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