Largest Ship in Iranian Navy Catches Fire, Sinks
The IRIS Kharg, the largest ship in the Iranian navy, caught fire under unclear circumstances and sank Wednesday morning in the Gulf of Oman, according to the semiofficial Fars and Tasnim news agencies. The fire started at 2:25 am local time during naval maneuvers in the Strait of Hormuz, through which one-fifth of the world’s oil supply is transported, state TV reported. The crew was evacuated to safety, but efforts by firefighters to extinguish the fire and save the ship were unsuccessful. The British-built Kharg, referred to in the Iranian media as a “training ship,” is able to replenish other ships at sea, lift heavy cargo, and serve as a helicopter carrier. Its sinking is the latest in a long string of Iranian maritime disasters that include an explosion on the Saviz cargo ship in the Red Sea, reportedly caused by limpet mines in an attack that Iran attributed to Israel; the killing of 19 sailors by an errant missile during a 2020 navy training exercise; and the 2018 sinking of a naval destroyer in the Caspian Sea.