A fire broke out on board the ship at around 2:25 a.m. local time (11:55 p.m. CET). The ship sank near the Strait of Hormuz between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, about 1,270 kilometers southeast of Tehran. It is not yet clear why the ship started burning.
The ship’s crew managed to evacuate. According to the Associated Press, some sailors jumped into the water with life jackets, but most were evacuated to the mainland before the ship sank. State TV and Iranian news agency Tasnim reported that Iris Kharj was part of the exercise when the fire broke out.
“The army and civil organizations tried to put out the fire, but the fire spread to several parts of the ship, which eventually sank,” the Iranian navy said in a statement.
Kharg managed to transport heavy cargo and also served as a helipad.
Video of the largest Iranian ship that sank near the port of Jask near the Strait of Hormuz after a fire broke out in it. Iranian news agencies say efforts to rescue the ship have failed pic.twitter.com/hF86Gtqc7H
– Gulnaz Esfandiari (@GEsfandiari) June 2, 2021
The ship, built in Britain, was named after the Iranian island of Kharg, and the Iranian navy began using it in 1984 after lengthy negotiations.
Iran has not avoided maritime disasters in recent years. In 2020, during a military exercise, a missile accidentally hit a naval vessel near the port of Jask, killing 19 sailors and injuring 15 others. In 2018, an Iranian Navy destroyer sank in the Caspian Sea.