Iranian warship capsizes in Gulf port ‘accident’


An Iranian warship capsized while undergoing port repairs, killing two officers and injuring several others.

The navy’s Sahand destroyer was in the southern port of Bandar Abbas near the Strait of Hormuz when it sank, state media reported.

The official news agency IRNA, citing a navy statement, said: “As Sahand was being repaired at the wharf, it lost its balance due to water ingress. Fortunately the vessel is being returned to balance quickly.”

Sahand, named after a mountain in northern Iran, took six years to build and launched into the Persian Gulf in December 2018. The 1,300-ton vessel was equipped with surface-to-surface and surface-to-air missiles, anti-aircraft batteries and sophisticated radar and radar-evading capabilities.

Its capsizing is the latest misfortune to befall the Iranian Navy. In January 2018, a naval destroyer, Damavand, sank in the Caspian Sea after crashing into a breakwater. In June 2021 Iran’s largest navy ship at the time, the Kharg, sank after catching fire in the Gulf of Oman.

Though local media has described the incident as an accident some analysts say it could be the work of an Israeli cyber attack.

Vulnerable to hacks

Enmity between Israel and Iran has intensified since Israel declared war on Hamas in October, leading to an Israeli airstrike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus and a wave of missile attacks by Tehran in retaliation.

Ronen Solomon, an Israeli security analyst, told The Telegraph, the ship’s system is vulnerable to hacks as it is controlled by remote devices.

He added: “We know because Iran is the one that developed a cyber attack against Western cargo ships in 2021, including British ships, based on the same concept.”

This latest incident has what he said are “all the elements that could point to a sophisticated operation with a space of denial that suits both sides, Israel and Iran”.

One of Israel’s most high-profile hacks occurred in 2020 on the Iranian port of Shahid Rajaee.

It sent the port into disarray causing disruptions at the port for several days. The US laid the blame on Israel, saying it was in retaliation for an attempted Iranian cyber attack on their port facilities.

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