COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — The duty commander of a Norwegian Navy frigate that sank following a collision with an oil tanker in 2018 was found guilty of negligence Monday by a Norwegian court.
The unidentified officer was given a 60-day conditional sentence by the Hordaland district court. He had denied the charge.
”He is disappointed with the outcome,” the lawyer for the 33-year-old officer, Christian Lundin, told Norwegian news agency NTB.
NTB said the officer had been on duty for eight minutes on Nov. 8, 2018, when the 134-meter (442-foot) KNM Helge Ingstad collided with the Maltese-flagged oil tanker Sola TS, tearing a large hole in the frigate’s side in a harbor in Sture, north of Bergen.
The frigate’s 137 crew were evacuated before the vessel sank. Eight people were slightly injured.
The duty commander was the only person prosecuted over the incident. The prosecution has claimed that negligent navigation was the main reason for the collision.
The officer had denied criminal guilt but had acknowledged that he did not do everything right. However, he felt it unfair to be held solely responsible for the shipwreck and said that mistakes were also were made on the tanker and at the maritime traffic center, which was responsible for traffic in the region.
The frigate has since been raised and scrapped as it was deemed too costly to repair it. The tanker was only slight damaged in the collision.
In February 2022, Twitt Navigation Ltd, the owner of the tanker, agreed to pay 235 million kroner ($22 milllion) to the Norwegian state in a settlement relating to the collision.