OSLO: An operation was underway to try to stop a Norwegian navy frigate from sinking after it collided with a Maltese oil tanker in a fjord in western Norway.
Eight people received minor injuries in the accident, which took place shortly after 4:00 am (0300 GMT) in a busy waterway in the Hjeltefjord near Bergen, Norway’s military said.
The 137 people on board the KNM Helge Ingstad frigate, which was returning from NATO’s Trident Juncture exercises, were evacuated after the collision with the Sola TS tanker, the military said.
“The KNM Helge Ingstad suffered damage above and below the waterline. The damage was such that the frigate was no longer stable and was not able to float sufficiently,” a Norwegian Navy officer, Sigurd Smith, told reporters.
“It was therefore decided to force it up on (nearby) rocks,” he said.
In the early afternoon, the grey 5,000-tonne vessel was listing heavily on its side, its helicopter landing pad at the back of the ship lying largely under the water, television images showed.
“It took on a lot of water and there is a real danger that it will sink where it is,” an official for the Sola rescue centre told AFP.
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.