The largest ship in the Iranian navy caught fire and later sank Wednesday in the Gulf of Oman under unclear circumstances, semiofficial news agencies reported. The Fars and Tasnim news agencies said efforts failed to save the support ship Kharg, named after the island that serves as the main oil terminal for Iran, the AP reports. The blaze began around 2:25am and firefighters tried to contain it, state TV said. The vessel sank near the Iranian port of Jask, some 790 miles southeast of Tehran on the Gulf of Oman near the Strait of Hormuz—the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf.
Photos circulated on Iranian social media of sailors wearing life jackets evacuating the vessel as a fire burned behind them. State TV and semiofficial news agencies referred to the Kharg as a “training ship.” 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.
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