Iran's largest warship catches fire and sinks under mysterious circumstances

Iran Ship Sinks In Gulf Of Oman As Firefighting Efforts Fail Crew Safe

The port is located to the southeast of Tehran on the Gulf of Oman, near the Strait of Hormuz.

The sinking of the Kharg on Wednesday is the latest in a string of several naval disasters experienced by the Iranian navy over the past few years, not including a number of suspicious attacks at sea.

But efforts to save the ship itself were unsuccessful and it sank, according to Fars news agency.

Kharg, the largest warship in the Iranian navy caught fire and later sank Wednesday in the Gulf of Oman under unclear circumstances, semiofficial news agencies reported.

Around 20 people received minor burn injuries, but no one was seriously hurt in the incident before the burning vessel was evacuated, a government spokesman told the Tasnim news agency, adding that the cause of the fire was still being investigated.

The blaze on board the navy ship began around 2.25am and firefighters were unable to save the vessel.

Iranian state TV said a fire started early Wednesday during a training mission in the port of Jask.

Iran's army also identified the Kharg as a "training ship" and confirmed there were nearly 400 crew and trainees on board, before adding all of them were safely evacuated. It's also one of the only vessels in the Iranian navy capable of providing replenishment at sea for its other ships.

The Kharg was commissioned by the Shah of Iran and built in the United Kingdom in the 1970s. It could also launch helicopters. In recent months, however, the navy launched a slightly larger commercial tanker called the Makran it converted into serving a similar function as the Kharg.

Iran denied targeting the vessels, though U.S. Navy footage showed Revolutionary Guard members removing one unexploded limpet mine from a vessel.

The shipping incidents have occurred since U.S. President Joe Biden took office in January, pledging to rejoin Iran's 2015 nuclear containment deal with six world powers - abandoned by his predecessor Donald Trump in a move welcomed by Israel - if Tehran returns to full compliance with the accord.

Saviz, a ship operated by Iran's Revolutionary Guards, was attacked, possibly by a limpet mine, in the Red Sea on April 6 off the coast of Eritrea. It escalated a yearslong shadow war in Mideast waters between the two countries.

Last year, an Iranian warship was hit by friendly fire during a naval exercise off Jask, killing the 19 sailors onboard.



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