Tehran: The Iranian Navy’s largest warship caught fire and later sank in the Gulf of Oman under unclear circumstances, the latest disaster to strike one of the country’s ships in recent years amid tensions with the West.
The fire broke out at 2.25 a.m. on Wednesday and firefighters tried to contain it, but their efforts failed to save the 207m Kharg, which was used to redo other ships in the fleet at sea, Fars news agency reported. I went. Organize training exercises. State media reported that 400 sailors and trainee cadets aboard the ship fled the ship, injuring 33.
The ship sank near the Iranian port of Zask, about 1270 km southeast of Tehran, near the Strait of Hormuz on the Gulf of Oman – the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf. Satellite images from Planet Labs analyzed by the Associated Press showed no sign of fire from Jask to Kharg as of 11 p.m. late Tuesday.
Images circulated on Iranian social media of sailors wearing life jackets taking out the ship as a fire burning behind them. Fars published a video of thick, dark smoke emanating from the ship early Wednesday. U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellites tracking fires from space detected a fire near Jask just before the time of the fires reported by Fars.
Iranian officials did not give a reason for the fire in Kharag, although they said an investigation had begun. It comes after a series of mysterious explosions that began in 2019 targeting commercial ships in the Gulf of Oman. The US Navy later accused Iran of targeting ships with lame mines, timed explosives usually attached to a ship’s hull by divers.
Iran denied this, although US Navy footage showed members of the Revolutionary Guard removing an unexplained lame mine from a ship. The attacks came amid heightened tensions between the US and Iran after then-President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers. Negotiations on saving the agreement are ongoing in Vienna.
In April, an Iranian ship called the MV Saviz, believed to be a guard base and anchored for years in Yemen’s Red Sea, was targeted in an attack that was suspected of being carried out by Israel. It escalated a year-long shadow war in the Middle East between the two countries, ranging from attacks in Syria, attacks on ships and attacks on Iran’s nuclear program.
Israel’s prime minister’s office did not respond to a request for comment on Kharag on Wednesday.
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