Iran’s largest warship, the Kharg, caught fire and sunk in the Gulf of Oman under unknown circumstances.
The fire began early on Wednesday morning, around 2 am, forcing the crew to flee. Out of 400 members on board, 33 suffered injuries. Firefighters attempted to save the 680-foot long warship to no avail. The Associated Press reports, “Satellite photos from Planet Labs Inc. analyzed by The Associated Press showed the Kharg off Jask with no sign of a fire as late as 11 a.m. Tuesday. … Satellites from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that track fires from space detected a blaze near Jask that started just before the time of the fire reported by Fars [Iranian media].”
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The Kharg is Iran’s largest vessel used to resupply other ships and serves as a “training ship”. Fars stated that the Kharg trained cadets from the Imam Khomeini Naval University on the Caspian Sea. The vessel was built in Britain and set sail in 1977, not joining the Iranian navy until 1984. A majority of Iran’s military equipment was built and in use prior to the Iranian Revolution in 1979.
Recent incidents of fatal accidents and misfunctions have been reported due to out-of-date technology. “For the regular Iranian navy, this vessel was very valuable because it gave them reach,” said Mike Connell of the Center for Naval Analysis. “That allowed them to conduct operations far afield. They do have other logistics vessels, but the Kharg was kind of the most capable and the largest.”
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ARTICLE: ANTOINETTE AHO
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: PBS