Kharg, Iran’s 679-foot long warship just sunk last week off the coast of Jask, in the Gulf of Oman, and no one knows why. Kharg was Iran’s biggest purpose-built warship and it suddenly caught fire early morning of June 2nd, forcing the 400 people consisting of the ship’s crew and naval cadets to evacuate the ship.
The ship was mostly lightly armed and used as an oiler and cargo ship. It could move 33,014 tons and normally has around 250 people in the crew. It was refitted after it arrived in Iran in the late 1970s. The refit included a 76-millimeter Oto Malera rapid-fire deck gun and six pairs of 23-millimeter guns. The ship was also able to transport six SH-3 Sea King Helicopters.
The weirdest thing is that at the same time that the ship sunk, a fire also started on an oil refinery serving the Iranian capital of Tehran. Such incidents have been happening for the past year. In April, a blackout struck the Iranian nuclear facility at Natanz and last year waves of fire struck nuclear facilities, oil refineries, power plants, major factories, and businesses across the country.
Kharg kept burning for hours. The damage control teams tried to put the fire out but to no avail. Kharg finally sunk some 6 miles off the coast of Jask. Reports said that around 33 personnel were injured in the incident, but no one was killed. Many believe that the recent incidents have something to do with Israel and its attempts to slow down Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
Israel and Iran have been going at it over the past years. Reports say that have also engaged in a number of undeclared naval skirmishes, sabotaging shipping and supply lines. While these are mere speculations, it could very well be true as Iran is a major backer of Hamas and has allegedly assisted the group in building a large inventory of surface to surface missiles.