Iran’s largest naval vessel caught fire and sank Wednesday in the Gulf of Oman, under circumstances yet to be made clear by Tehran.
The IRNA news outlet reports multiple efforts over 26 hours failed to save the British-built ship from foundering in what is just the latest disaster to hit the trouble-plagued Iranian navy.
Video of the incident was soon making its way around social media outlets, showing the stricken vessel disappearing beneath the waves in a cloud of acrid smoke:
Footage reportedly of #Iran’s Navy largest ship, the Kharg , burning this morning in the Gulf of Oman.
The vessel later sank (AP), in yet another mysterious incident/ disaster befalling Iran’s military:
— Joyce Karam (@Joyce_Karam) June 2, 2021
The blaze began aboard the Kharg, named after the island that serves as the main oil terminal for Iran, at around 2:25 a.m. and firefighters tried to contain it, the Fars news agency said.
The vessel eventually went down near the Iranian port of Jask, some 790 miles southeast of Tehran on the Gulf of Oman near the Strait of Hormuz — the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf.
Photos circulated on Iranian social media of sailors wearing life jackets evacuating the vessel as a fire burned behind them.
State TV and agencies referred to the Kharg as a “training ship.” Fars published video of thick, black smoke rising from the ship early Wednesday morning:
Acccording to AP, the Kharg served as one of a few vessels in the Iranian navy capable of providing underway replenishment at sea for its other ships. It carried heavy cargo and served as a launch point for helicopters.
The warship, built in Britain and launched in 1977, entered the Iranian navy in 1984 after lengthy negotiations that followed Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.
Tehran offered no cause for the fire, however the ship’s loss marks the latest in a string of naval disasters for Iran going back to 2018 when an Iranian navy destroyer sank in the Caspian Sea.
In 2020 during an Iranian military training exercise, a missile mistakenly sank a naval support vessel near the port of Jask, killing19 sailors and wounding 15, as Breitbart News reported.
Later that year a wooden replica U.S. aircraft carrier attacked by Iran as part of a propaganda exercise capsized in the Strait of Hormuz, blocking a key shipping channel in the process.
New imagery from yesterday shows the capsized #IRGC replica of the Nimitz Class Carrier appears to have listed more outside of Bandar Abbas Port, #Iran. She appears more listed here than previous imagery from the 31st July. The depth here is a reported 14m. Fun to reclaim…. pic.twitter.com/tKTHJAaGCS
— Aurora Intel (@AuroraIntel) August 2, 2020
It is all a far cry from the confident attitude Iran was showing previously, as Breitbart News reported.
“What was shown today in these exercises, at the level of aerospace and naval forces, was all offensive,” Iran’s Revolutionary Guards commander Major General Hossein Salami told state television in the days before the fake wooden carrier sank.
The usually excitable Salami’s observations after Wednesday’s latest naval loss remain unrecorded.
AP contributed to this story