Iran says it is transforming commercial container or cruise ships into large military vessels, the Fars News agency reported Saturday.
The agency, which is affiliated to the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), said the IRGC navy was due to commission ‘Shahid Mahdavi’ as a forward base ship based at Bandar Abbas port that will after refitting be among Iran’s largest vessels. The ship was named in honor of Nader Mahdavi, one of seven IRGC personnel ‘martyred’ in an engagement with the United States navy in October 1987 during the Iran-Iraq war.
Aurora Intel, defense analysts, said the ship – formerly called Savin, Sarita, Dandle, Twelfth Ocean, Iran Esfahan – is a 22-year-old container vessel with a nominal capacity of 3,300 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs).
At 240 meters long and 32 meters across, the new IRGC ship appears to be of similar length to the Iranian navy's forward base ship Makran, which was formerly an oil tanker, but it will be by far the largest ship in the IRGC’s naval forces. Fars said the IRGC is upgrading cargo ships into military ones following the US practice as with the USS Lewis B Puller expeditionary mobile base vessel and the MV Ocean Trader, which serves as a forward base for US special forces.