On June 2nd, the Iranian Navy’s largest ship caught fire and subsequently sank in the Gulf of Oman.
The circumstances of the incident are largely unclear.
The Fars and Tasnim news agencies said efforts had failed to save the support ship Kharg, named after the island that serves as the main oil terminal for Iran.
The fire on the ship began after midnight and firefighters attempted to contain it, but ultimately failed.
The vessel sank near the Iranian port of Jask, some 1,270 kilometers southeast of Tehran on the Gulf of Oman near the Strait of Hormuz.
Photos circulated on Iranian social media of sailors wearing life jackets evacuating the vessel as a fire burned behind them. Fars news reported that the entire crew of the ship safely disembarked and there were no casualties.
State TV and semiofficial news agencies referred to the Kharg as a “training ship.”
There is a video of a cloud of smoke coming out of the ship in the distance.
HINT: The sound in the video is EXTREMELY LOUD. Be advised.
The Kharg serves as one of a few vessels in the Iranian navy capable of providing replenishment at sea for its other ships. It also can lift heavy cargo and serve as a launch point for helicopters.
Satellite photos from Planet Labs Inc. analyzed by The Associated Press showed the Kharg off to the west of Jask on June 1st.
Satellites from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that track fires from space detected a blaze at the site of the Jask that started just before the time of the fire reported by Fars.
The ship was built in Great Britain and launched in 1977, it entered the Iranian Navy in 1984 after lengthy negotiations that followed Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.
The sinking of the Kharg marks the latest naval disaster in Iran.
In 2020 during an Iranian military training exercise, a missile mistakenly struck a naval vessel near the port of Jask, killing 19 sailors and wounding 15. Earlier, in 2018, an Iranian Navy destroyer sank in the Caspian Sea.
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