The "Eemslift Hendrika", a Dutch cargo ship which was carrying several smaller boats between Bremerhaven (Netherlands) and Kolvereid (Norway), launched a distress call late Monday morning, caught in the middle of a storm and the victim of a engine damage.
The freighter, which threatened to capsize any minute, was located by the Norwegian maritime authorities who immediately proceeded to evacuate the twelve members of the crew.
The first eight were hoisted from the deck of the freighter while the last four had to jump into the water.
One of them was also injured in his fall.
Spectacular footage filmed by rescuers shows an individual in an orange survival suit throwing himself into heavy seas from the stern of the ship.
The “Eemslift Hendrika” emptied of its occupants then began to drift towards the Norwegian coast.
On Tuesday morning, he was about 130 km northwest of the port city of Ålesund.
“The vessel is drifting with a high list (between 40 and 50 degrees), so there is a risk of it capsizing,” said Norwegian Coastal Administration official Hans-Petter Mortensholm.
"Our main priority is to try to stabilize it so that it does not sink in order to avoid an oil leak at sea," he added.
The freighter contains 350 m3 of heavy fuel oil, 75 m3 of diesel and 10 m3 of lubricating oil.
A Norwegian Coast Guard vessel is currently en route to the ship.
The operator of the latter called on the Dutch rescue company Smit Salvage, which was involved in the bailout of the Ever Given in the Suez Canal last week.