image Photo: Reuters

Gulf of Oman: Iranian naval drill accident kills at least 19

An Iranian navy frigate accidentally struck a friendly Iranian vessel with a missile during a naval exercise in the Gulf of Oman, killing at least 19 sailors and wounding 15 others.

The incident comes amid heightened tensions between the Islamic Republic and United States Navies, including in the sensitive waterway in question, which connects to the strategic Strait of Hormuz, through which a fifth of the world’s oil passes on a daily basis.

According to Iranian state television, the navy frigate named Jamaran fired at a training target, which was released by a support ship, named the Konarak. The report noted, however, that the support ship stayed too close to the intended target and was hit instead. And while official Iranian statements announced an ongoing investigation into the incident, an unidentified military official denied some Iranian media reports that the Konarak had sunk.

TV7 acquired satellite images of the badly damaged Konarak vessel, which was apparently moored in an Iranian port. It is interesting to note that the Konarak vessel, which was purchased from the Netherlands before Iran‘s 1979 Islamic revolution, had been reportedly overhauled in 2018, after which it was equipped with four cruise missiles.