Oil tanker and frigate collide off Norway, 7 injured

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

The Navy fears that the frigate will slip off the rocks and sink, with tugboats trying to keep it in place under the watchful eye of several Navy vessels.

According to Rystad Energy, "The frigate Helge Ingstad sustained severe damage in the collision, which occurred only about 15 minutes after the tanker TS Sola, carrying approximately 600,000 barrels of oil, set sail under tow from Equinor's Sture terminal".

The frigate is believed to be the KNM Helge Ingstad, which took part in NATO's massive Trident Juncture 2018 wargames.

The Accident Investigation Board said because the tanker is Maltese-registered, the Marine Safety Investigation Unit (MSIU) of Malta will participate in the investigation. Seven people were injured, local media says.

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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".

Pictures show the 5,290 ton, 440 foot frigate lying low in the water as it sinks beneath the waves. The Maltese-flagged ship was loaded with crude oil en route to Britain.

The country's coast guard said meanwhile it had detected small diesel spills in the water and it was trying to contain further pollution. The frigate has been listing dangerously.

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

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The tanker, with 23 crew, suffered damage well above the waterline.

The 134-metre long frigate, built in Spain in 2009, has a helipad platform on its stern. Laden tanker left Sture Terminal shortly before collision. Launched in 2007, the warship is named after the famous Norwegian Arctic explorer.

It had recently taken part in NATO's large-scale Trident Juncture military exercises, where it was engaged in submarine hunting maneuvers.

"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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