An Aframax oil tanker traveling under a Maltese flag has collided with a Norwegian frigate in the North Sea, Norwegian media have reported, with the frigate in danger of sinking. All crew have been evacuated from the warship. There were 23 people on board of the Sola tanker. Most of them have been evacuated as well, save for a crew to make sure that the oil does not leak.
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 moved to an inshore location and was listing heavily at 11:30am, amidst emergency efforts to prevent the vessel from sinking”.
One Norwegian news outlet reports that according to tracking data, the frigate’s geolocation system was turned off at the time of the collision, noting, however, that the armed forces of Norway have neither confirmed nor denied that. Efforts are being made now to prevent the warship, “Helge Ingstad” from sinking.
According to reports from the rescue crews, seven people have been lightly injured in the collision, and there has been no oil spilled from the tanker, which suffered a lot less damage than the frigate, which was returning from a NATO military drill.
The collision, the cause of which remains unclear as of yet, happened in the early hours of Thursday off Norway’s west coast. The tanker had left a nearby oil shipments terminal operated by Equinor carrying a cargo of North Sea crude oil. The Sture terminal, Reuters reports in its latest update of the accident, will be shut down as a precaution. Related: Iran’s Ghost Tankers Are Slipping Through The Cracks
The Sture terminal serves as a collection hub for crude from several Norwegian offshore fields, including Oseberg, Grane, Svalin, Edvard Grieg, and Ivar Aasen. It’s unclear how long the Sture terminal will remain closed.
Meanwhile, production has been shut down at the Ivar Aasen field, Aker BP, which operates the field, told Reuters. An unnamed source familiar with the situation separately said production had also been shut down at Edvard Grieg. The crude from these and the other fields that feed into Sture comes via pipelines. According to Rystad, some 365,000 bpd of oil will be shut-in for about five to seven days.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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