The “Eemslift Hendrika” made a distress call Monday, reporting a heavy list after stormy weather displaced some of its cargo.
The 12 crew members were evacuated in two stages later the same day by Norwegian rescue services: the first eight were airlifted from the deck of the cargo ship while the last four had to jump into the water.
Footage from the Norwegian authorities shows a man in an orange survival suit throwing himself into the rough sea off the stern of the ship.
The ship also suffered an engine failure and then began drifting towards to the Norwegian coastline.
On Tuesday morning it was about 130 kilometres (80 miles) northwest of the port city of Ålesund.
Det er fortsatt fare for at lasteskipet Eemslift Hendrika skal kantre og synke. KV Sortland er nå fremme ved havaristen. På https://t.co/WjQchCUqZV kan du følge utviklingen i saken.https://t.co/KnN0ySyeha pic.twitter.com/eviAMUF2SI
— Kystverket (@Kystverket) April 6, 2021
“The ship is drifting with a large list (between 40 and 50 degrees), so there is a risk that it will capsize,” Hans-Petter Mortensholm, head of the Norwegian Coastal Administration (Kystverket) told AFP.
“Our main priority is to try to stabilise it so that it does not sink, and so that it does not leak fuel oil into the sea,” he added.
The cargo ship contains 350 cubic metres of heavy fuel oil, 75 cubic metres of diesel and 10m3 of lubricating oil.
A Norwegian Coast Guard vessel was en route to the ship on Tuesday morning.
The operator of the vessel has also called in the Dutch company Smit Salvage, which was involved in the refloating of the Ever Given in the Suez Canal last week.
Weather conditions were “extremely bad” with waves of 10 to 15 metres, complicating the situation but a lull was expected in the afternoon, according to Kystverket.