Malta-registered oil tanker collides into Norwegian warship

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The Sola TS did not spill oil, it appears, but the collision forced the shutdown of a North Sea crude export terminal and Norway's largest gas processing plant, as well as a number of offshore fields.

Norway has been forced to close the Sture Oil Terminal near Bergen and has started closing down the nearby Kollsness gas-and-condensate terminal - a lifeline of heating gas to Europe - after an early morning collision between a $440-million frigate and an oil tanker.

"We are working on stabilizing the vessel", Norwegian Navy Counter-Admiral Nils Andreas Stensoenes told a news conference, adding that the eight injured were all Navy crew.

The tanker, which was carrying a crew of 23, was returned to port for an inspection.

HNoMS Helge Ingstad was taking part in the NATO Trident Juncture exercises.

Heavy shipping traffic is the norm at Sture, where a quarter of all oil produced in oil-rich Norway is processed. The Ingstad has rolled over onto her starboard side but remains in shallow water.

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"It took on a lot of water and there is a real danger that it sinks where it is", an official for the Sola rescue center told Agence France-Presse. He declined to comment on what would happen to the weapons on board the ship.

The Navy quickly evacuated all the crew except for 10 essential staff members to prevent a possible fuel leak.

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".

He would not confirm further details as reported by a Norwegian defence and security website, which broke the news that the two vessels could see each other and followed communication protocols on an open channel.

The Accident Investigation Board added that because the tanker is Maltese-registered, the Marine Safety Investigation Unit of Malta will participate in the investigation.