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Crew trapped in capsized ship

Rescue vessels surround the capsized cargo ship.
Rescue vessels surround the capsized cargo ship.

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LONDON, England (CNN) -- Rescuers have pulled 12 people to safety after a cargo ship has capsized off the coast of Norway and are hoping to save 16 others who might be trapped inside the overturned hull.

Rescuers can hear trapped people banging on the hull of the ship and are towing the ship to shallower waters before attempting to get to them, Ola Vaage of the Norwegian National Rescue Service said.

Two people were confirmed dead after the cargo ship Rocknes flipped over at 4:30 p.m. local time (10:30 a.m. ET) Monday south of Bergen near a place called Vatlestraumen.

The ship remained afloat, with its bottom above the surface, Vaage said.

Fifteen to 20 ships had surrounded the vessel, and rescuers were trying to enlarge a hole cut in the hull, but progress was slowed by the need to ensure no one inside was hurt.

It was not clear where the trapped people were in the ship, he said.

A crane on the deck of the ship was catching on the ocean floor, hindering efforts to move the ship to shallow waters, he said.

The ship was on its way from Norway to Germany when it capsized in mild weather. It was filled with stones and pebbles, usually used in the oil industry, when it tipped over.

The Rocknes, registered in Antigua, is owned by a company called Jebsen, based in both Germany and Norway.

There were two Norwegians on board, one them the captain.

In addition, there were one German, three Dutch and 23 Filipinos among the officers and crew. Vaage said he did not know the nationalities of the dead or rescued.

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