Fire hits Iran’s largest navy ship, forcing evacuation
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) – The largest Iranian naval vessel caught fire in the Gulf of Oman on Wednesday morning under unclear circumstances, forcing sailors to evacuate the vessel, state media reported.
A state television report identified the ship as the Kharg Support Vessel, named after the island that serves as Iran’s main oil terminal.
The blaze started around 2:25 a.m. and firefighters were still trying to contain it, state television said. The ship is located near the Iranian port of Jask, some 1,270 kilometers (790 miles) southeast of Tehran, in the Gulf of Oman, near the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf.
The official IRNA news agency later said that “the Kharg rescue operation failed”, without specifying what that meant.
Photos circulated on Iranian social media of sailors wearing life jackets evacuating the ship as a fire burned behind them. State television and semi-official news agencies have called the Kharg a “training ship”.
The Kharg is one of the few ships of the Iranian Navy capable of supplying its other ships at sea. It can also lift heavy cargo and serve as a launch point for helicopters. The ship, built in Britain and launched in 1977, entered the Iranian Navy in 1984 after lengthy negotiations following the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran.
The incident marks the latest naval setback for Iran. In 2020, during an Iranian military training exercise, a missile mistakenly struck a warship near the port of Jask, killing 19 sailors and injuring 15. Also in 2018, an Iranian navy destroyer sank in the Caspian Sea.
The Associated Press