By Nerijus Adomaitis and Terje Solsvik
OSLO (Reuters) - A Norwegian navy frigate that collided with an oil tanker last week was almost completely submerged on Tuesday despite efforts to salvage the sinking vessel, pictures taken by the Norwegian Coastal Administration showed.
The ship's plight off the Norwegian coast is, however, not disrupting the nearby Sture crude oil export terminal. "We are in normal operations," said a spokeswoman for the plant's operator, Equinor.
The Norwegian military has been working since Thursday to salvage the ship by tethering it with several cables to the shore. Some of these had broken.
"The ship sunk a meter further and, as a result, two wires broke. They were replaced with two stronger ones. We worked until midnight on this. After midnight, we realized it was not safe for our staff to carry on the work further," said Haavard Mathiesen, the head of the salvage operation for the Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency.
"Around 0600 (0500 GMT), more wires broke and the ship sank further. It is now in deep water and stable," he told a news conference.
The ship was stranded off Norway's west coast early last Thursday after it collided with the tanker that had left the Sture terminal. The facility was shut for several hours as a result.
Eight Navy staff, out of a total crew of 137, were slightly injured in the incident.
(Writing by Gwladys Fouche, editing by Susan Fenton and David Stamp)