One of Iran’s largest navy ships has sunk after catching fire near the Strait of Hormuz under mysterious circumstances.
The Kharg, named after a nearby island that serves as a key oil terminal, caught fire in the early hours of Wednesday local time, and more than 20 hours of rescue efforts failed to save it, according to the army.
The Iranian army also identified the Kharg as a “training ship” and confirmed there were nearly 400 crew and trainees on board, before adding that all of them had been safely evacuated.
The cause of the fire was not given, but an army official told Iran’s IRNA that it started in the engine room and that parts of the ship’s body melted and fell into the sea.
The vessel sank close to the port of Jask in the south of the country, near the Strait of Hormuz, a strategic waterway.
The Kharg’s sinking marks the latest big naval incident for Iran in recent years.
Last year, a missile was mistakenly fired during a military training exercise at sea, killing 19 sailors and wounding 15 others.
An Iranian navy destroyer also sank in the Caspian Sea in 2018.