June 2, 2021
For the regular Iranian navy, this vessel was very valuable because it gave them reach.Principal Scientific Analyst at the Center for Naval Analyses (CNA) Mike Connell on Iran’s most recent naval disaster.
- What happened? Iran's largest warship caught fire and sunk off the Gulf of Oman (bordered by Pakistan, Iran, United Arab Emirates, and Oman) during a training exercise. Of the 400 sailors and trainer cadets aboard, at least 33 are reportedly suffering from injuries.
- When? The Fars news agency (Iran's state media) reported the fire began early Wednesday morning. Firefighters were unable to contain the fire and the ship later sunk.
- Interesting To Note: The cause of the fire is unclear, however, an investigation is underway. The fire is the latest in a series of mysterious explosions in the Gulf of Oman in recent years.
- Why It Matters: The Kharg was a crucial piece of Iran's military. Like most of Iran's military equipment, it dates back before Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution. The Washington Post notes the aging equipment has led to malfunctions causing "fatal accidents as recently as Tuesday." The Kharg was "one of the few vessels in the Iranian navy capable of providing replenishment at sea for its other ships" according to USA Today. Connell of CNA explained how the Kharg allowed Iran "to conduct operations far afield. They do have other logistics vessels, but the Kharg was kind of the most capable and the largest.”
by Jenna Lee,