Oil tanker & Norwegian Navy frigate ‘collide’ off country’s coast, 7 reported injured

The route of the tanker “Sola TS” after the collision. The blue dots are ships taking part in the rescue operation. Screenshot from

An operation was underway Thursday to try to stop a Norwegian navy frigate from sinking after it collided with a Maltese oil tanker in a fjord in western Norway. The Sture terminal, Reuters reports in its latest update of the accident, will be shut down as a precaution.

The Norwegian military is investigating the incident.

Helge Ingstad took on water and all 137 personnel were evacuated, according to the statement, which added that eight suffered minor injuries.

The ship, which had recently taken part in the vast North Atlantic Treaty Organisation drill Trident Juncture in Norway, is "strongly listing", Rear Admiral Stensoenes told a news conference.

Eirik Walle, with Norway's rescue center, told Norwegian news agency NTB that the collision caused an opening in the frigate's hull and "it is taking in more water than they can pump out".

The circumstances of the accident, which took place shortly after 4am in the Hjeltefjord, near Bergen, are not yet clear.

The shipping site Sysla said the tanker had been loaded with crude oil and was being towed out of the harbor when it somehow rammed the frigate.

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The Norwegian Navy has planned a news conference for later in the day.

Some 10,000 litres of helicopter fuel from the frigate's tanks leaked into the sea, Johan Marius Ly of the Norwegian Coast Guard said.

The Helge Instad is 442 feet long and was built by Spanish shipbuilder Navantia in 2009.

Norway has been forced to close the Sture Oil Terminal near Bergen and has started closing down the nearby Kollsness gas-and-condensate terminal - a lifeline of heating gas to Europe - after an early morning collision between a $440-million frigate and an oil tanker.

The Sture terminal is a major tanker port, with nearly 25% of Norway's oil production passing through the facility.

The Accident Investigation Board added that because the tanker is Maltese-registered, the Marine Safety Investigation Unit of Malta will participate in the investigation.

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