Eight people on the KNM Helge Instad were slightly injured when the accident occurred at 4 a.m. in Sture, north of Bergen, the Joint Rescue Coordination Center for southern Norway said. The military said the ship, which had recently taken part in the vast NATO drill Trident Juncture, is taking on water.
Eirik Walle, with the 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. There is no control over the leak and the stern is heavily in the sea.”
The Maltese-flagged tanker, Sola TS, was not damaged and its 23-man crew remained on board.
Norway’s Accident Investigation Board said the towboat Tenax also was involved in the accident but didn’t say how.
Details of the accident were still unclear. The Norwegian Navy was planning a news conference later in the day.
Johan Marius Ly of the Norwegian Coast Guard said the 134-meter (442-foot) -long frigate was listing, adding “we have been told that there is a leak from the frigate. It should be a helicopter fuel, but the extent of leakage is unknown.”
The frigate, built in Spain in 2009, has a helipad platform on its stern.
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 Accident Investigation Board added that because the tanker is Maltese-registered, the Marine Safety Investigation Unit (MSIU) of Malta will also participate in the investigation.