The blaze began around
The ship sank near the Iranian port of Jask, some 1,270 kilometers (790 miles) southeast of
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
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
In April, an Iranian ship called the MV Saviz believed to be a Guard base and anchored for years in the
The Israeli prime minister’s office did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday regarding the Kharg.
State TV and semiofficial news agencies on Wednesday referred to the Kharg, named after the island that serves as the main oil terminal for
Like much of
In recent months, the navy converted a slightly larger commercial tanker called the Makran to use it as a mobile launch platform for helicopters. The Kharg also could launch helicopters on a smaller scale.
But the newer vessel likely can't fill the role of the Kharg, which could handle both refueling and replenishing supplies of ships at sea, said
The Kharg also was seaworthy enough to sail through the
“For the regular Iranian navy, this vessel was very valuable because it gave them reach,” Connell said. "That allowed them to conduct operations far afield. They do have other logistics vessels, but the Kharg was kind of the most capable and the largest.”
The sinking of the Kharg marks the latest naval disaster for
Gambrell reported from