The largest ship in the Iranian navy IRIS KHARG 431 caught fire and later sank in unclear circumstances today, Wednesday 2nd June in the Gulf of Oman.
The fire blaze started around 0225 hrs according to the Fars News Agency with efforts to save the ship failed and she sank off the Iranian port of Jask near the strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Gulf. Photos circulated on Iranian social media of sailors in lifejackets evacuating the vessel as a fire burned behind them. State TV and semi-official news agencies referred to the KHARG as a “training ship”.
She was built by Swan Hunter in the United Kingdom, a modified OL Class Fleet Replenishment Oiler as yard number 98 , launched on 3rd February 1977 and completed on 25th April 1980. She was delivered to Iran in 1984 completing her maiden voyage starting on 5th October.
All 400 crew were rescued, with 33 reported injured. The ship sank in a region of sensitive waterways around the Strait of Hormuz through which about 20% of the world oil trade passes, and where there have been accusations of attacks on ships of enemies Iran and Israel, with Israel attacking a dozen Iranian oil tankers bound for Syria since late 2019. The fire was reported to have started in the ship’s engine room
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Published – Wednesday 2nd June, 2021.