Iran's biggest navy ship sinks after fire in Gulf of Oman

Carla Harmon
June 2, 2021

An American official said Israel had called the attack retaliation for earlier alleged Iranian strikes on Israeli vessels.

The expedition forces tried to extinguish the fire of Khark ship for 20 hours without interruption, but the fire was so intense that half of the ship's hull melted and sunk later off, said Behzad Jahanian.

All of its crew members disembarked safely, following rescue operations that went on for hours.

The Iranian navy's replenishment vessel IS Kharg passes through the Suez canal at Ismailia, Egypt, in 2011.

Iranian state TV said the vessel was a "training ship".

"All efforts to save the vessel were unsuccessful and it sank", the Fars news agency reported, according to Reuters.

Kharg had been on a "training, intelligence and combat mission" in global waters along with Alborz, an Alvand-class frigate, according to a statement from the naval force of the regular Iranian army May 9.

Kharg, the largest vessel in Iran's navy, sank early Wednesday in the Gulf of Oman near the port of Jask, Hormozgan province, after being ablaze for almost 24 hours, Iranian news agencies have reported. Other explosions on ships in the Gulf of Oman since 2019 are believed to be part of the shadow war between Iran and Israel, each accusing the other of attacking ships with limpet mines. The incidents came amid heightened tensions between the US and Iran after then-President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers.

"It is not the IRIN's largest vessel any more after they commissioned Makran, a converted oil tanker, in January", he added.

Saviz, a ship operated by Iran's Revolutionary Guards, was attacked, possibly by a limpet mine, in the Red Sea on April 6 off the coast of Eritrea.

But the newer vessel likely can't fill the role of the Kharg, which could handle both refueling and replenishing supplies of ships at sea, said Mike Connell of the Center for Naval Analysis, an Arlington, Virginia-based federally funded nonprofit that works for the USA government.

"For the regular Iranian navy, this vessel was very valuable because it gave them reach", Connell said.

Also in 2018, an Iranian navy destroyer sank in the Caspian Sea. Last year, a missile mistakenly struck a naval vessel also near the port of Jask during a training exercise.

Other reports by iNewsToday