Iranian Warship Sahand Capsizes And Sinks

Iranian Navy Frigate IRIS Sahand Capsizes in Bandar Abbas

One of Iran’s most advanced frigates, the IRIS Sahand, has capsized and sunk in its home port of Bandar Abbas. The incident was reported in local media on July 7, 2024. The 12-year-old warship, known for its modern design and capabilities, was found rolled over on its port side, with only parts of its hull and sonar dome visible above the water.

Possible Causes and Historical Context

Initial reports suggest a “technical failure” during repairs as a potential cause, but the exact reason remains unclear. Poor maintenance, a docking accident, or even sabotage are all being considered. This incident is part of a troubling pattern for the Iranian Navy, which has experienced several significant accidents in recent years.


Notably, Sahand’s sister ship, Damavand, capsized and sank after running aground in 2018. In 2021, the navy’s second-largest warship, Kharg, caught fire and sank, and another sister ship, Talayieh, capsized in a dry dock later that year. Additionally, the support ship Konarak was mistakenly hit by an Iranian missile in a friendly fire incident in 2020.

Sahand’s Capabilities and Deployments

The Sahand, based on the British-designed Vosper Mark 5, had been upgraded with modern systems including an AESA radar, medium-range air-defense missiles, and increased anti-ship missile capacity. These upgrades, while enhancing its combat capabilities, may have contributed to a higher center of gravity, potentially making the vessel more top-heavy and prone to capsizing.

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Iranian frigates, including the Sahand, have been active in the Red Sea, where they are suspected of supporting the Houthi Movement in their attacks on merchant ships. The Houthis use a range of Iranian-supplied weapons, and Iranian ships are believed to provide intelligence and targeting assistance.

The sinking of the Sahand adds to the Iranian Navy’s list of operational challenges and underscores the risks associated with maintaining and upgrading aging military equipment.

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