The exact cause of the sinking has not been revealed by Iranian officials, though reports have emerged that the crew was all safely rescued from the ship before it sank.
Speculation is mounting, however, as the region is strategically important due to its connection to the Strait of Hormuz, which has a daily oil flow of approximately 21 million barrels per day, roughly a fifth of the world's oil.
The area, which connects the Persian Gulf to the Arabian Sea, has been the focus of numerous attack accusations between ships owned by Iran and Israel, and several unaccounted-for explosions targeting ships.
Iran's state media explained that the fire on the IRIS Kharg started at approximately 2:25 a.m. on June 2 (21:55 GMT), while the ship was on a training mission near the Iranian port of Jask.
Once the fire was discovered, rescue operations lasted for hours as the crew all disembarked the naval vessel. Efforts to stop the ship from sinking were unsuccessful.
The latest in a number of naval disasters for Iran
As recently as April, Iran claimed that its naval vessel, the Saviz, had been the target of limpet mines on the Red Sea. Iran and Israel have blamed each other for a number of attacks on cargo ships so far this year.
Iran's largest warship, the Kharg has caught fire & sunk in the Gulf of Oman— Ali Arouzi (@aliarouzi) June 2, 2021
under unclear circumstances.
State media said firefighters tried to contain the blaze but efforts failed to save the warship. pic.twitter.com/5nOhE6DdGM
NBC's Tehran correspondent Ali Arouzi posted footage of the blaze from afar, shortly after reports emerged regarding the sinking ship.
The Iris Kharg naval vessel was built in Britain and launched in 1977 after a contract worth £40 million was agreed with Iran. Due to negotiations over hostages from the US and the detention of a British national, the vessel was not handed over to Iran until 1984, after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
The sinking of the Kharg is the latest in a series of disasters for Iran's navy. In 2020, during a military training exercise, a missile accidentally struck a navy vessel near Jask, killing 19 sailors and wounding 15. In 2018, an Iranian navy destroyer sank in the Caspian Sea.
This is a developing story, so be sure to check back for updates on any reason behind the IRIS Kharg's sinking.