An Iranian naval vessel was accidentally hit by a missile fired during naval exercises in the Gulf of Oman, killing nineteen sailors and wounding 15 others, state television said May 11.
Tasnim news agency close to the Revolutionary Guard quoted the army's public relations department that the vessel has been towed to port.
The friendly fire incident, which comes amid heightened tensions between Iran and the United States, occurred on May 10 near Jask, a port some 1,270 kilometers southeast of Tehran, in the Gulf of Oman, it said.
State television described the missile strike 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, it said.
According to a journalist in Iran close to Tasnim and Fars news agencies the warship Jamaran fired a cruise missile, which hit the smaller vessel.
Twelve sailors were admitted into a local hospital while three others were treated for superficial wounds, the state-run IRNA news agency reported.
The U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, which monitors the region, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Dutch-made, 47-meter Konarak has been in service since 1988. It usually carries a crew of 20 sailors, but it is not clear how many were onboard when the incident happened. The number of casualties indicate around forty 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.
The incident comes amid months of heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington since President Donald Trump in 2018 unilaterally withdrew from a landmark deal between Iran and world powers and imposed crippling sanctions on Iran.