Iranian warship in Gulf of Oman sunk in friendly fire; at least 19 sailors dead

The 'friendly fire' incident happened during a military exercise. The Iranian state media said that the ship, Konarak, was too close to the target.

A missile fired from an Iranian frigate in the Gulf of Oman hit one of the country's warships, killing at least 19 sailors and injuring several others. The 'friendly fire' mishap is being investigated, Iranian news agency ISNA reported. The incident happened on Sunday, May 10.

A C-802 Noor missile struck the Konarak, a Hendijan-class support ship which was taking part in a military exercise. Reports on Monday said that the incident took place near the port of Jaask, which is around 1,270 kilometres (790 miles) southeast of Tehran. The state media said that it was an accident and that Konarak was too close to the target. It also said that the Konarak was putting out targets in the waters for other ships to fire upon.

Strait of Hormuz
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According to Dailymail, the Iranian Jamaran frigate accidentally fired on the Konarak with the anti-ship cruise missile during the exercise. Iran has had strategic interests in the region and holds regular exercises in the Gulf of Oman. It is close to the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf which transports around 20 percent of the world's oil.

Sailors recovered from the sea

There have been speculations about the number of wounded soldiers. According to Iran's Fars news agency, the casualties were recorded as "one dead and several injured during a naval exercise."

Several others speculate that a larger number of sailors might have died. Some reports peg the fatalities at 40. Sailors are also being recovered from the region and treated, according to videos circulating online.

The state-run news agency IRNA reported that a local hospital treated 12 sailors. Previous reports had claimed that around 20 sailors had died.

The 47-meter-long Dutch-made vessel has been in service since 1988 and has a 40-ton capacity. The ship usually has a capacity of 20 sailors. According to reports Konarak was overhauled in 2018 and has the capability to launch sea and anti-ship missiles.

The US Navy's 5th Fleet also has a presence in the region, monitoring the high seas. There has been constant confrontations between US and Iranian navy boats and ships in the region close to the Strait of Hormuz. Recently, US President Donald Trump had also tweeted that he had asked the US Navy to shoot down the Iranian boats if they harass the US Navy.