Video: New Iranian Frigate Capsizes in Drydock

Image courtesy Army of the Islamic Republic of Iran

Published Dec 16, 2021 6:25 PM by The Maritime Executive

Satellite and video imagery released earlier this month appears to show that a newly-built Iranian frigate has capsized in a graving dock at the port of Bandar Abbas. 

Video circulating on social media shows the new frigate / intelligence ship Talayieh resting on her port side in a partially-flooded graving dock at Iran's Nedaja Shipyard. Satellite imagery obtained by Planet Labs on December 4 confirmed that the vessel was resting at an angle, with her superstructure visibly tilted to port. 

Later satellite imagery from December 9 appears to show that the vessel has been righted and shifted to a mooring at the western side of the drydock. The extent of any damage to the vessel is not known, and the incident has not been covered by Iranian media. 

In a statement carried by ISNA News earlier this week, the Iranian Navy's acquisition division claimed that the Talayieh "is in the final stage of preparation."

"[The destroyer] has successfully passed its initial tests and is in the final stages of preparation," said a spokesperson for the command.  "The intelligence vessel will join the Navy after completing the technical and operational test."

Talayieh (project name Shiraz, or Golden Ship) is an upgraded Moudge-class frigate, a class designed and built within Iran since 2007. She is the fourth in the series. Unlike her sisters, Talayieh has an enlarged superstructure and a helicopter hangar, and the Iranian Navy says that the extra space will be used for enhanced signals intelligence and ISR capability. 

The capsizing is the latest in a string of setbacks for the Iranian Navy, which has lost multiple vessels in apparent accidents over the span of the past three years.

The replenishment / training vessel IRIS Kharg - the largest ship in the service's inventory - exploded, burned and sank in the Gulf of Oman in June 2021. The circumstances of the casualty remain under debate. 

The support vessel IRIS Konarak was struck by a missile during a live-fire exercise and badly damaged in May 2020. 19 crewmembers were killed and 15 injured in the friendly-fire incident.

The frigate IRIS Damavand, a sister ship of Talayieh, struck a breakwater in a storm and sank in 2018. And a converted merchant vessel that had been refitted to serve as an "aircraft carrier" target went down while under tow off Bandar Abbas in July 2020, creating a hazard to navigation for Iran's busiest commercial seaport.