The Iranian navy's largest ship has caught fire and sunk near the Gulf of Oman.
A blaze broke out on board support vessel Kharg on Tuesday afternoon while it was on a training mission near the port of Jask, according to Iranian news agencies.
All crew members were evacuated to shore before firefighters attempted to tackle the blaze, but could not save the ship.
روابط عمومی منطقه دوم دریایی جاسک اعلام کرد در پی حریق در شناور خارک و پس از انتقال کارکنان به ساحل، با وجود ۲۰ ساعت تلاش همه جانبه به دلیل گسترش آتش در بخشهای مختلف، عملیات نجات شناور پشتیبانی آموزشی خارک بینتیجه ماند و این شناور در آبهای محدوده جاسک آرام گرفت. pic.twitter.com/8J6y1Mhqi6— خبرگزاری فارس (@FarsNews_Agency) June 2, 2021
Kharg sunk into waters at the mouth of the Strait of Hormuz on Wednesday morning after 20 hours of efforts to save it.
It is not clear how the fire started. Iran and Saudi Arabia have been involved in clandestine attacks on rival vessels around the Strait of Hormuz that can initially be reported as fires.
The ship had around 400 crew and students on board when the fire broke out, a government spokesman told the Tasnim news agency.
He said around 20 people had received minor burn injuries before the ship was evacuated, and that nobody was seriously hurt.
The spokesman added that the cause of the fire is still under investigation, and a statement will be made soon.
Photos circulated on Iranian social media of sailors wearing life jackets evacuating the vessel as a fire burned behind them.
State TV and semiofficial news agencies referred to the Kharg as a 'training ship.'
The Kharg serves as one of a few vessels in the Iranian navy capable of providing replenishment at sea for its other ships.
It also can lift heavy cargo and serve as a launch point for helicopters.
The ship, built in Britain and launched in 1977, entered the Iranian navy in 1984 after lengthy negotiations that followed Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution.
The sinking of the Kharg marks the latest naval disaster for Iran.
In 2020 during an Iranian military training exercise, a missile mistakenly struck a naval vessel near the port of Jask, killing 19 sailors and wounding 15.
Also in 2018, an Iranian navy destroyer sank in the Caspian Sea.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
© Associated Newspapers Ltd.