Iran's largest navy vessel caught fire in the Gulf of Oman on Wednesday and sank, according to the Tasnim News Agency.
A fire broke out on the IS Kharg while the ship was near Iran's port of Jask, southeast of Tehran, according to the Iranian navy. All crew members were able to flee the burning ship and were transferred to safety on the coast. The Kharg — sometimes spelled "Khark" — was one of navy's few ships capable of replenishing other ships at sea.
Military and civilian responders tried for 20 hours to extinguish the fire that gradually spread throughout the vessel, reported the Tasnim News Agency. Photos and videos shared online show the entire ship out at sea engulfed in thick, black smoke.
"All efforts to save the vessel were unsuccessful and it sank," the Fars news agency reported, according to Reuters.
The Kharg was being deployed to international waters for training operations when one of its systems caught fire, according to the Iranian navy. No cause for the blaze was given.
The Iranian navy has experienced a spate of disasters in recent years. Last year, a missile mistakenly struck a naval vessel also near the port of Jask during a training exercise. Nineteen sailors died and 15 others were injured. In 2018, an Iranian destroyer sank in the Caspian Sea.
The Kharg had been in service for more than 40 years. It was built by Swan Hunter in the U.K., launched in 1977 and delivered to Iran in 1984, according to The Associated Press.