Jun 2, 2021 - World

Iran's largest warship sinks after catching fire

Picture of the Iranian warship Kharg

Iranian support warship Kharg in 2009. Photo: Majid Jamshidi-Hossein Zohrevand/AFP via Getty Images

Iran's largest navy ship, known as the Kharg, caught on fire on Wednesday and sunk in the Gulf of Oman, according to state media.

Details: The fire broke out at around 2:25 a.m. while the ship was near Iran's Port of Jask, a major shipping lane. No casualties were reported and the entire crew was able to escape the wreck and was taken to safety on the coast, per NPR.

  • Officials tried for 20 hours to put out the fire, but were unable to as the flames spread to different parts of the ship.
  • The Kharg was being deployed for training operations when the blaze erupted.

The big picture: While Iranian officials have not offered any cause that might have started the fire, this was the latest in a series of mysterious explosions that has been targeting ships in the Gulf of Oman since 2019, AP reports.

  • The U.S. accused Iran of being responsible for a series of attacks on oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz in 2019, saying the regime was engaged in "an unacceptable campaign of escalating tensions."
  • Iran has denied targeting ships in the area, but U.S. Navy footage caught members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps removed an unexploded limpet mine from a vessel in 2019.

Yes, but: Iran's ships have experienced incidents in the past that were unrelated to conflicts with foreign nations. In 2020, a training vessel was mistakenly hit by a missile near the Port of Jask, ending in 19 casualties, per AP.

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