Iran's largest navy ship sinks after catching fire at mouth of Gulf

Iran navy ship sinks after fire in Gulf of Oman

Photos and videos shared online show the entire ship out at sea engulfed in thick black smoke.

"What was shown today in these exercises, at the level of aerospace and naval forces, was all offensive", Iran's Revolutionary Guards commander Major General Hossein Salami told state television in the days before the fake wooden carrier sank.

Iran's ISNA news agency said the vessel had left for a mission focused on "training, intelligence and combat" alongside the destroyer Alborz on May 19.

Like much of Iran's major military hardware, the Kharg dated back to before Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution.

The ship caught fire at 11 am (0630 GMT) on Tuesday as it was in "domestic waters" during "a training mission", Iran's Tasnim news agency quoted the navy's head of public relations Behzad Jahanian as saying.

The largest ship in the Iranian navy caught fire and later sank Wednesday in the Gulf of Oman under unclear circumstances, semiofficial news agencies reported. In its statement, Iran's navy said the fire started in one of the ship's systems, without giving further details.

In April, Iran said one of its vessels, the Saviz, had been targeted in the Red Sea, after media reports the ship had been attacked with limpet mines.

The port city of Jask, near which the Kharg went down, lies close to the Strait of Hormuz, the strategic chokepoint at the head of the Gulf through which a fifth of world oil output passes.

In recent months, the navy converted a slightly larger commercial tanker called the Makran to use it as a mobile launch platform for helicopters.

That came after Israel and Iran had blamed each other for a series of reported attacks on cargo ships since late February. The incidents came amid heightened tensions between the US and Iran after then-President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers.

Though there have been accusations of attacks on ships owned by arch-enemies Iran and Israel there in the past. It escalated a yearslong shadow war in Mideast waters between the two countries.

In 2020 during an Iranian military training exercise, a missile mistakenly sank a naval support vessel near the port of Jask, killing19 sailors and wounding 15, as Breitbart News reported.