Norway frigate collides with oil tanker in fjord

Norwegian frigate

The 137 people on board the KNM Helge Ingstad frigate, which was returning from NATO's Trident Juncture exercises, have been evacuated after the collision with the Sola TS tanker, the army said.

Eight people were injured in the crash and the warship's crew of 127 have been evacuated from the listing vessel.

"Due to the damage to the frigate it was moved to a safe place", Nato's Allied Maritime Command said in a statement.

Update: 0700 UTC - according to latest reports frigate was taken to shallow waters to avoid sinking, water ingress is incontrollable.

Some 10,000 litres of helicopter fuel from the frigate has leaked into the sea after the collision tore a large hole in its side, the military said.

Crude oil tanker SOLA TS, IMO 9724350, dwt 112939, built 2017, flag Malta, manager Tsakos Columbia Shipmanagement (TCM) SA. The coastal water where the stricken vessel lies is normally prone to heavy seas, but unseasonably calm conditions prevail.

No oil spill has been reported from the tanker, which was sailing from Equinor's Sture terminal in Øygarden.

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A source told AFP news agency a "small oil slick" was detected from the warship and that "it took on a lot of water and there is a real danger that it sinks where it is".

Norway's largest oil and gas company Equinor, formerly known as Statoil, said it shut down non-emergency activities at the Sture terminal where the collision occurred "as a precautionary measure".

The 62,000-tonne tanker received only slight damage and is waiting to be towed to a nearby oil terminal, the rescue centre official said.

Rear Admiral Stensoenes said the cause of the accident was not clear and the Navy would wait for the findings of Norway's Accident Investigation Board. The warship was launched in November 2007.

The KNM Helgeelge Ingstad had been returning from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation military exercises.

"According to our assessments, there's no reason to believe that anything, like an accident, could happen with the weapons" on board, he said.

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