At least 19 Iranian sailors were killed and 15 injured in an incident during an exercise, the military has confirmed. Earlier unofficial reports said that an Iranian frigate accidentally fired a missile at a naval support vessel.
The incident involving the naval logistics and support ship Konarak occurred during an exercise in the port city of Jask in the Gulf of Oman on Sunday evening, local media reported earlier, citing the Iranian Navy.
Rescue teams were quickly deployed to the site where they evacuated the wounded. The damaged ship was taken to a port, and an investigation was launched to determine the cause of the incident.
Unofficial reports that emerged shortly after the incident claimed that the Iranian frigate Jamaran, belonging to the nation’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), accidentally hit the Konarak with an anti-ship missile before it could sail away from a floating target that it was towing to a designated position. There is no official confirmation so far.
The narrow Strait of Hormuz, which connects the Persian Gulf with the Gulf of Oman and the Indian Ocean, is one of the world’s most vital oil shipping routes. The area has become an arena of tension due to the diplomatic row between Iran and the US.
Last month, Iranian patrol boats and US Navy ships were involved in a standoff in the Persian Gulf, with both sides accusing each other of provocations and dangerous maneuvers. The US and Iran have repeatedly traded warnings that they would strike each other’s warships in self-defense.