A major naval incident occurred Wednesday in the Gulf of Oman. The support warship IS Kharg, the Iranian Navy’s largest warship which measured more than 200 meters (more than 650 feet) long, named after the island that serves as the main oil terminal for Iran, caught fire and sank near Iran’s port of Jask, southeast of Tehran. The blaze began at about 2:25 am. All crew on board were able to flee the burning ship and were transferred to safety on the coast. Military and civilian responders tried for 20 hours to extinguish the fire. “All efforts to save the vessel were unsuccessful and it sank,” the Fars news agency reported. Video published by Fars also showed thick, black smoke rising from the ship early Wednesday morning.
Kharg was conducting a training mission. No cause for the blaze was given. The Kharg, built in the UK, had been in service for more than 40 years. It was one of the only vessels in the Iranian navy capable of providing replenishment at sea for other ships. It also served as a launch point for helicopters.Recently, the Iranian Navy launched a commercial tanker called the Makran it had converted to serve a similar function to the Kharg.The fire occurred after a series of mysterious explosions that began in 2019 targeting ships in the Gulf of Oman.