Breaking news out of Iran.
The country’s largest war ship has reportedly caught fire and sunk in the Gulf of Oman.
The circumstances surrounding event are as of yet unknown.
On top of this, reports are coming in that the Shahid Tondguyan oil refinery in Iran has also caught fire.
What is going on in Iran?
The Associated Press has the scoop:
The largest warship in the Iranian navy caught fire and later sank Wednesday in the Gulf of Oman under unclear circumstances, the latest calamity to strike one of the country’s vessels in recent years amid tensions with the West.
The blaze began around 2:25 a.m. and firefighters tried to contain it, the Fars news agency reported, but their efforts failed to save the 207-meter (679-foot) Kharg, which was used to resupply other ships in the fleet at sea and conduct training exercises. State media reported 400 sailors and trainee cadets on board fled the vessel, with 33 suffering injuries.
The ship sank near the Iranian port of Jask, some 1,270 kilometers (790 miles) southeast of Tehran on the Gulf of Oman near the Strait of Hormuz — the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf. Satellite photos from Planet Labs Inc. analyzed by The Associated Press showed the Kharg off Jask with no sign of a fire as late as 11 a.m. Tuesday.
Photos circulated on Iranian social media of sailors wearing life jackets evacuating the vessel as a fire burned behind them. Fars published video of thick, black smoke rising from the ship early Wednesday morning. Satellites from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that track fires from space detected a blaze near Jask that started just before the time of the fire reported by Fars.
Iranian officials offered no cause for the fire aboard the Kharg, though they said an investigation had begun. It comes after a series of mysterious explosions that began in 2019 targeting commercial ships in the Gulf of Oman. The U.S. Navy later accused Iran of targeting the ships with limpet mines, timed explosives typically attached by divers to a vessel’s hull.
Iran denied that, though U.S. Navy footage showed Revolutionary Guard members removing one unexploded limpet mine from a ship. The attacks came amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran after then-President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers. Negotiations on saving the accord continue in Vienna.
CBS News has more on the mysterious circumstances surrounding the ship sinking:
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.
Iran's navy typically handles patrols in the Gulf of Oman and the wider seas, while the country's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard operates in the shallower waters of the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf. In recent months, however, the navy launched a slightly larger commercial tanker called the Makran it converted to serve a similar function as the Kharg.
Iranian officials offered no cause for the fire aboard the Kharg. However, it comes after a series of mysterious explosions that began in 2019 targeting ships in the Gulf of Oman. The U.S. Navy later accused Iran of targeting the ships with limpet mines, timed explosives typically attached by divers to a vessel's hull.
Iran denied targeting the vessels, though U.S. Navy footage showed members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard removing one unexploded limpet mine from a vessel.
The incidents came amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran after then-President Trump unilaterally withdrew the U.S. from Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers.
In April, an Iranian ship called the MV Saviz believed to be a Guard base and anchored for years in the Red Sea off Yemen was targeted in an attack suspected to have been carried out by Israel. It escalated a years-long shadow war in Mideast waters between the two countries.
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, killing19 sailors and wounding 15. Also in 2018, an Iranian navy destroyer sank in the Caspian Sea.
Footage is now also coming in of the Shahid Tondguyan oil refinery in Teharan, Iran burning: