The crew of a Dutch cargo ship was evacuated in stormy weather off the coast of Norway late yesterday, leaving the abandoned vessel adrift and in danger of sinking and causing an oil spill.

Footage released by the Norwegian Rescue Coordination Centre showed some of the 12 crew members jumping into the ocean from the badly listing Eemslift Hendrika before being rescued by helicopter. Others were hoisted directly from the deck.

All were brought to safety, but the vessel - currently some 130km off the coast in the North Sea - is at risk of sinking, Norwegian officials said.

"The ship lost power on the main engine during the night and is drifting towards land," Hans Petter Mortensholm of the Norwegian Coastal Administration, told public broadcaster NRK.

"There is a risk it may capsize and sink," Mr Mortensholm said, adding that this could cause a spill.

The Hendrika has around 350 tonnes of heavy oil and 50 tonnes of diesel in its tanks, the Coastal Administration said in a statement.

Smit Salvage, a subsidiary of the Dutch marine services company Boskalis, told Reuters it had been contracted to try saving the ship and was mobilising a team to send to Norway today.

Safety permitting, Smit would seek to get its own crew on board the Hendrika and link the vessel to a so-called anchor handling tug, a powerful ship built to move rigs for the oil industry.

"Getting her onto a tow line and to a calmer location, that is the goal," Smit Salvage spokesman Martijn Schuttevaer said.

Built in 2015 and registered in the Netherlands, the 111.6 metre Eemslift Hendrika is a yacht transport vessel, carrying smaller boats on its deck, according to Monaco-based Starclass Yacht Transport, which markets the ship's services.