One of the Iranian Navy’s largest support vessels, the Kharg, sank on Tuesday in the Gulf of Oman.
A fire had broken out on the 650 ft. cargo ship, designed to resupply ships at sea, during a training exercise.
The blaze, believed to have been triggered by a “fault in one of its systems”, prompted a swift evacuation of the entire crew of 400 and trainees.
غرقت السفينة البحرية إلايرانية "خرج" في خليج عمان .— ☝️Index Hakeem 🟣☝️ (@hakrashaa) June 2, 2021
لا يتمكن إنقاذ أكبر سفينة بحرية إيرانية. لا يزال سبب الانفجار والحريق الأولي غير واضح.
Iranian Navy ship '#kharg' sinks in the Gulf of Oman. The largest Iranian naval vessel could not be saved. pic.twitter.com/XpnDueMWLv
Efforts by firefighters to put out the blaze proved to be futile. The ship sank 20 hours later near the port of Jask.
According to a government spokesman cited by Tasnim news agency, some 20 people received minor burn injuries. It was added that a probe was still underway.
بالنسبة لإيران ، فإن خسارة السفينة ستكون خسارة ملموسة: لم يكن بإمكان خرج حمل إمدادات كبيرة من الوقود فحسب ، بل يمكنه أيضًا أداء مهام أخرى بسبب إمكانية وضع ثلاث طائرات هليكوبتر على متنها في وقت واحد.— ☝️Index Hakeem 🟣☝️ (@hakrashaa) June 2, 2021
The incident follows a spate of mutual recriminations between Iran and Israel over attacks on cargo ships and military vessels. The verbal allegations over sea incidents fed into the already fraught relations between the adversaries.
In April, Iran accused Israel of being behind a blast using underwater mines that damaged its military vessel MV Saviz in the Red Sea.
#Iran - #Israel : Iranian media just shared photos from inside the Saviz Iranian ship that has been attacked by Israel in the Red Sea by limpet mines. Media said an unknown helicopter flew over the ship hours before the Israeli attack. Via @m_khalili93 pic.twitter.com/7kkuGpDWMV— Elijah J. Magnier (@ejmalrai) April 8, 2021
Earlier, an Israeli cargo vessel sailing from Tanzania to India was hit by a missile in the Arabian Sea, prompting Israeli security services to point the finger of blame at Tehran.
Another Israeli-owned cargo vessel, the MV Helios Ray, was also hit by explosions while sailing off the coast of the UAE in February.
While Israel made no official accusation at the time, unsourced reports from the Israeli media outlets Haaretz and Channel 13 at the time claimed Iran knew that the vessel was owned by an Israeli businessman.
Tehran vehemently denied the allegations, calling them an elaborate "false flag operation".