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Monday, 11 September, 2000, 17:40 GMT 18:40 UK
British frigate runs aground
Ship holed
HMS Grafton might have to be towed into port for repairs
A British frigate has run aground after striking rocks off the coast of Norway

The HMS Grafton may have to be towed into port for repairs after being badly damaged in the incident.

She ran aground while trying to negotiate narrow fjords close to the town of Droebak, about 19 miles from the capital Oslo. Her 175-man crew had been on a weekend's leave in the capital.

Reports from Droebak police say the warship's bow has been raised half a metre but it is not obstructing other vessels which use the fjord.

Oslo skyline
The 175 crew were on weekend leave in Oslo

Two tugboats and a pilot were used to pull the 450-foot ship off the rocks. Royal Navy divers assessed the damage and confirmed there were no oil leaks.

The 3,500 ton warship is a type 23 Duke Class frigate, the mainstay of Britain's surface fleet, which entered service in 1997.

HMS Grafton is part of Nato's Standing Naval Forces Atlantic group and was visiting Oslo with other vessels from the unit.

Fitted with an array of weapons to enhance her capability, the frigate is capable of near silent running and has a stealth design which significantly reduces its radar signature.

An MOD spokesman said an investigation would be held into how the 430ft long warship hit the rocks.

He added: "Navy divers have gone down to conduct an initial investigation. Depending on what they find a decision will be taken whether to take her back into Oslo."

The site where HMS Grafton ran aground is only a few hundred feet from where the German warship Bluecher was sunk by a torpedo from the nearby Oscarsborg fort, the day Norway was occupied by the Nazis in 1940.

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