Multi-na­tional fleet of Nato ships docks for week­end in Dundee

Ves­sels from France, Den­mark and Por­tu­gal ar­rive in the Tay

The Courier & Advertiser (Fife Edition) - - NEWS - STE­FAN MORKIS smorkis@the­

A fleet of Nato ships ar­rived at the Port of Dundee yes­ter­day.

Four ves­sels had orig­i­nally been due to visit the city but one of the ships was un­able to make the trip af­ter be­ing in­volved with a civil­ian craft dur­ing a train­ing ex­er­cise in Nor­way.

Mar­itime Group One, which nor­mally com­prises of three frigates and an Ab­sa­lon-class com­mand ship, had spent two weeks on ex­er­cise in Scan­di­navia.

How­ever, one of the frigates, the Royal Nor­we­gian Navy’s Helge Ingstad, was in­volved in a se­ri­ous col­li­sion with the Mal­tese tanker Sola TS off the coast of Nor­way.

Eight sailors on board the Nor­we­gian ship suf­fered mi­nor in­jures as a re­sult.

At 62,000 tonnes, the tanker is 12 times the weight of the Helge Ingstad.

It is un­der­stood the Helge Ingstad suf­fered ex­ten­sive dam­age to its hull.

The cap­tain of the ship ran it aground af­ter­wards in or­der to pre­vent it sink­ing.

In a state­ment, the Nor­we­gian Armed Forces said: “Due to the dam­age to the frigate it was moved to a safe place and the crew was evac­u­ated.

“There are no re­ports of dam­ages or leaks from the oil tanker and no re­port of se­ri­ous in­juries, though eight crew mem­bers are be­ing treated for mi­nor in­juries.”

The three re­main­ing ships in Mar­itime Group One – the Dan­ish com­mand ship Es­bern Snare, Por­tugese Navy frigate Corte Real and the French ship La­touche Trav­ille – ar­rived in Dundee yes­ter­day with the Corte Real the first to reach port at around 1.30pm.

They will re­main in Dundee un­til Mon­day.

Mar­itime groups are made up of ves­sels from al­lied coun­tries un­der per­ma­nent Nato con­trol.

A Nato spokesman said: “Stand­ing Nato Mar­itime Group One plans to ar­rive for a port visit in Dundee on Fri­day af­ter­noon.

“The visit is a rou­tine port visit fol­low­ing the com­ple­tion of two weeks at sea in Nato ex­er­cise Tri­dent Junc­ture in Nor­way.

“Our group con­sists of three ships since the Nor­we­gian ship in­volved in the col­li­sion on Fri­day is not com­ing.”

Due to the dam­age to the frigate it was moved to a safe place and the crew was evac­u­ated. NOR­WE­GIAN ARMED FORCES

Pic­ture: Gareth Jen­nings.

The Corte Real, of the Por­tuguese Navy, be­ing es­corted into the Tay.

Pic­ture: AP.

The Helge Ingstad was in­volved in a col­li­sion dur­ing a train­ing ex­er­cise in Scan­di­navia.

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