The IRIN Navy frigate Jamaran. (Mohammad Sadegh Heydar)
The IRIN Navy frigate Jamaran. (Mohammad Sadegh Heydar)

The Islamic Republic of Iran Navy frigate Jamaran opened fire on one of its own warships, the Konarak on 10 May causing numerous casualties.

The IRIN naval vessel was accidentally hit by a missile fired during naval exercises in the Gulf of Oman, killing 19 sailors and wounding 15 others. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps quoted that the vessel has been towed to port.

The friendly fire incident, which comes amid heightened tensions between Iran and the United States, occurred near Jask, a port some 1,270 kilometres southeast of Tehran, in the Gulf of Oman.

The missile strike was described as an accident, saying the Konarak had remained too close to the target. The Konarak had been putting targets out in the water for other ships to fire upon. Twelve sailors were admitted into a local hospital while three others were treated for superficial wounds.

The IRIN support ship Konarak. (IRNA)

The Jamaran is a Moudge-class frigate armed with four C-802 (Noor) anti-ship cruise missiles. Iranian built, it was reversed engineering of UK-built Alvand class frigates. The Jamaran became operational in 2010 and entered into service in the Persian gulf. It sister ship, the Damavand was completed in 2013 and was in service in the Caspian Sea Caspian until it sunk in January 2018.

The Dutch-made, 47-metre Hendijan-class support vessel Konarak has been in service since 1988, was overhauled in 2018 and has missile launch capability. It normally carries a crew of 20, but it is not clear how many were onboard when the incident happened. The number of casualties indicate some 40 sailors might had been onboard.

Iran regularly holds exercises in the region, which is close to the strategic Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf through which one-fifth of the world’s oil passes.

by David Oliver