According to the Iranian Navy, a fire broke out on the IS Kharg as the ship was near Iran’s port of Jask, southeast of Tehran. The whole crew was able to evacuate the blazing ship and was taken to safety on the shoreline. The Kharg, also known as the “Khark,” was one of the Navy’s few ships capable of refilling other ships at sea.
According to the Tasnim News Agency, military and civilian rescuers worked for 20 hours to put out the fire that had spread throughout the vessel. Photos and videos circulated on the internet show the whole ship at sea surrounded in dense black smoke.
“All efforts to save the vessel were unsuccessful and it sank,” the Fars news agency reported, according to Reuters.
According to the Iranian Navy, the Kharg was sent to international seas for training operations when one of its systems caught fire. The cause of the fire was not stated.
In recent years, the Iranian Navy has suffered a string of mishaps. During a training exercise last year, a missile accidentally hit a navy vessel in the port of Jask. Nineteen sailors were killed, and 15 were injured. An Iranian warship lost in the Caspian Sea in 2018.
The Kharg had been in service for almost four decades. According to The Associated Press, it was manufactured by Swan Hunter in the United Kingdom, launched in 1977, and given to Iran in 1984.