The largest ship in the Iranian Navy caught fire and sank in the Gulf of Oman on Wednesday, semi-official news agencies reported.

The Fars and Tasnim news agencies said efforts failed to save the support ship Kharg, named after the island that serves as the main oil terminal for Iran.

The blaze began at about 2.25am and firefighters tried to contain it, state TV said. The vessel sank near the Iranian port of Jask, about 1,270 kilometres south-east of Tehran near the Strait of Hormuz.

Photos circulated on Iranian social media of sailors wearing life jackets evacuating a vessel as a fire burnt behind them. State TV and semi-official news agencies referred to the Kharg as a “training ship”.

The Kharg served as one of a few vessels in the Iranian Navy capable of providing replenishment at sea for its other ships.

It was also designed to be able to lift heavy cargo and serve as a launch point for helicopters. The ship, built in Britain and launched in 1977, 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 for Iran. In 2020 during an Iranian military training exercise, a missile mistakenly struck a naval vessel near Jask, killing 19 sailors and wounding 15. An Iranian Navy destroyer sank in the Caspian Sea in 2018.

Source » thenationalnews