Tehran, Iran — The Iranian Navy’s largest warship was struck by fire and then sank in the Gulf of Oman on Wednesday under uncertain conditions, a semi-official news agency reported.
Fars and Tasnim news agencies said efforts to save the 679-foot support vessel Kharg, named after the island that functions as Iran’s main oil terminal, have failed.
Reuters reported that all crew members had successfully disembarked. Reuters quoted Fals, who quoted a statement from the Navy. According to the statement, Kerg was on a training mission.
The fire began at around 2:25 am and firefighters attempted to contain it, state television reported. The ship sank near the port of Jask in Iran, about 790 miles southeast of Tehran in the Gulf of Oman, and near the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf.
The Navy reported that the fire extinguishing continued for 20 hours before the ship sank, according to a report by Agence France-Presse.
Iran’s social media has spread photos of sailors in life jackets evacuating in a burning fire behind the ship.
Fars released a video of dark black smoke rising from the ship early Wednesday morning.
Planet Labs Inc. satellite images analyzed by the Associated Press showed that Kerg took off west of Jarsk on Tuesday. The U.S. Marine and Atmospheric Administration satellite tracking fires from space was reported by Firth. A fire was detected at the site of Jask where the fire started just before.
Kharg Island serves as one of the few ships of the Iranian Navy that can provide supply to other ships at sea. It can also lift heavy cargo and also serves as a helicopter launch point.
Built in the United Kingdom and launched in 1977, the ship joined the Iranian Navy in 1984 after long negotiations following Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.
The Iranian navy typically patrols the Gulf of Oman and the wider waters, while the country’s paramilitary revolutionary defense forces operate in the shallow waters of the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf. However, in recent months, the Navy has launched a slightly larger commercial tanker called the Makran and modified it to perform the same function as Kharg.
Iranian officials did not reveal the cause of the fire on Kharg Island. But that happens after a series of mysterious explosions targeting ships in the Gulf of Oman in 2019. The US Navy subsequently accused Iran of targeting the ship at Limpet Mine. This is usually a time bomb attached to the hull by a diver.
Although Iran denied targeting the vessel, US Navy footage shows members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps removing unexploded ordnance from the vessel.
The incident took place in the midst of heightened tensions between the United States and Iran after then-President Trump unilaterally withdrew the United States from a nuclear deal with Tehran’s world powers.
In April, an Iranian ship called MV Saviz, believed to have been moored in the Red Sea off Yemen for years, was targeted by a suspected attack carried out by Israel. It has escalated years of shadow war in the Middle East waters between the two countries.
The sinking of Kharg is the latest naval disaster for Iran. In 2020, during military training in Iran, a missile accidentally collided with a naval vessel near the port of Jask, killing 19 sailors and injuring 15 others. In 2018, an Iranian naval destroyer sank in the Caspian Sea.
Iran’s largest ship, Kharg Island, fires and sinks in the Gulf of Oman
Source link Iran’s largest ship, Kharg Island, fires and sinks in the Gulf of Oman