Norwegian warship collides with oil tanker following North Atlantic Treaty Organisation exercise

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He said the frigate had been pushed by towboats into shallow water where it could not sink fully.

The frigate's 137 crew members were evacuated amid fears that the warship may sink.

Sola TS tanker crashed into Helge Ingstad, tearing a large hole in its side, near the Sture terminal in Oygarden at around 4 a.m (0300GMT) on Thursday.

The Helge Ingstad ran into Sola TS, a 250m Maltese-flagged tanker carrying about 625,000 barrels of crude oil, at 4am today.

Stensoenes said the ship was "strongly listing" - or leaning to one side - and that it had been pushed by towboats into shallow water, where it can not fully sink. "There is no control over the leak and the stern is heavily in the sea".

Norway's largest oil and gas company, Equinor, formerly known as Statoil, said its non-emergency activities at the Sture terminal where the collision occurred were shut down as a precaution for many hours but were gradually starting up again late Thursday afternoon.

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The 62,000-ton tanker suffered minor damages and was towed to the terminal.

The two vessels collided at about 04:00 local time (03:00 GMT) as the frigate was sailing inner fjords for training, officials say. Both Norway's Accident Investigation Board and Malta's Marine Safety Investigation Unit will investigate the collision, as the tanker was registered in Malta.

A nearby oil terminal where the Maltese vessel had just loaded its cargo was closed to traffic on Monday, in turn leading to a halt in production at five oil fields in the North Sea, according to business daily Dagens Naeringsliv.

The 442ft long frigate, built in Spain in 2009, is part of a NATO fleet in the Atlantic. Launched in 2007, the warship is named after the famous Norwegian Arctic explorer.

Aerial footage taken by Norwegian coastal administration aircraft during the day shows the frigate partially submerged sitting on her starboard side on the rocks.

The ship had previously been part of an escort convoy which seized chemical weapons from Syria back in 2013.

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