One of Iran’s largest warships caught fire and sank in the Gulf of Oman on Wednesday during a “training mission” – a series of mysterious explosions have targeted commercial ships in the sensitive region since 2019.
British-built Kharag, which was over 650 feet in length, went up in flames from the strategic port of Jask on Tuesday, Reuters reported.
According to Iran’s Tasnim news agency, the ship was in “domestic waters” during “a training mission”, the Navy’s chief of public relations Behzad Jahanian said.
No further details were given and Jahanian said the cause of the fire was “still unclear.”
After a failed rescue operation, Kharag sank around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday morning local time – but all 400 cadets and crew disembarked safely, with 20 suffering minor injuries or burns.
State TV and quasi-government news agencies referred to the sunken ship as a “training ship”. It was one of the few Iranian Navy ships capable of providing replenishment at sea for other ships.
It sank near the Strait of Hormuz – about 790 miles southeast of Tehran – near the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf.
Images of sailors wearing life jackets circulated on Iranian social media as a fire burning from behind the wrecked ship. Iranian news agency Fars published a video of thick, dark smoke early on Wednesday.
The incident comes after a series of mysterious explosions targeted commercial ships in the Gulf of Oman in 2019.
The US Navy has previously accused the Islamic Republic of targeting ships with lame mines – timed explosives usually attached to a ship’s hull by divers.
Tehran has denied the allegation, but footage from the US Navy shows Revolutionary Guard members removing an unexploded lime mine from a ship.
The attacks came amid heightened tensions between the US and Iran after President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers.
Negotiations are underway to save the agreement in Vienna.
Meanwhile, in April, the Iranian ship MV Saviz, believed to be a guard base, was targeted in a suspected attack by Israel.
Israel’s prime minister’s office on Wednesday did not respond to a request for comment by the Associated Press about Kharag.
According to AFP, it was ordered from Britain in 1976, when the pro-Western Shah was still in power, but not delivered until 1984 after years of conflict between Britain and the government that took power after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. it was done.
Jeremy Binny of open-source defense intelligence provider Jens said that Kharag “was not IRIN’s biggest vessel” after commissioning Makran, a converted oil tanker, in January.
post with wires
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