Iranian Warship Accidentally Fires Missile During Naval Exercise, Killing 19

May 11, 2020 Updated: May 11, 2020

An Iranian warship accidentally fired a missile at a nearby Iranian vessel during a naval exercise in the Gulf of Oman on May 10, killing at least 19 sailors and injuring 15 others, the Iranian navy said in a statement.

Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency reported on May 11 that the Iranian frigate Jamaran—which is operated by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)—accidentally fired a new anti-ship missile that struck the Konarak, a logistical ship, during a live-fire exercise. 

The Konarak is a domestically made support ship that joined the naval fleet in 2018.

The missile from Jamaran was fired before the Konarak had moved far enough out of range, according to the news agency.

Videos published on social media appear to show wounded sailors being moved from the vessel and transferred to ambulances. The Epoch Times hasn’t been able to verify the content of the videos.

“The incident took place in the perimeter of Iran’s southern Jask port on the Gulf of Oman during Iranian Navy drills on Sunday,” Iranian state TV confirmed, quoting the Iranian navy.

Epoch Times Photo

The 15 injured are hospitalized in “good condition,” according to the ISNA news agency.

The Gulf of Oman is a particularly sensitive waterway, connecting to the Strait of Hormuz, through which about a fifth of the world’s oil passes from the Persian Gulf.

Iran’s armed forces regularly hold exercises in the region.

US Warns Iran Not to Harass Ships

In a separate incident last month, almost a dozen Iranian naval vessels made “dangerous and harassing” maneuvers near U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships in the Persian Gulf, also known as the Arabian Gulf, the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command said.

The Navy said on April 15 that 11 vessels from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Navy (IRGCN) came dangerously close to six U.S. vessels, repeatedly crossing their bows and sterns while they were conducting integration operations with U.S. Army Apache attack helicopters to support maritime security outside of Iran’s territorial waters.

The U.S. Navy said the “dangerous and provocative actions” from the IRGCN increased the risk of miscalculation and collision and “were not in accordance with the internationally recognized Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea.”

They were “not in accordance with the obligation under international law to act with due regard for the safety of other vessels in the area,” the statement said. While Iran is a signatory of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, it never ratified the treaty.

In response, President Donald Trump said he instructed the Navy to destroy Iranian gunboats if they harass U.S. ships.

Reuters contributed to this report.