Fact Check-Image of burning vessel dates to sinking of Iran’s Kharg ship in June 2021, is unrelated to 2022 war in Ukraine 

An image of a ship on fire was taken in June 2021 when Iran’s largest navy ship at the time, the Kharg, sank after catching fire in the Gulf of Oman.

The photograph is unrelated to the war in Ukraine in 2022 despite being widely shared by users with claims that it showed the sinking of the flagship of the Russian Black Sea fleet, the Moskva. 

One user shared the image on Twitter with a caption that reads: “NEWS: Ukraine says they hit a Russian missile cruiser "Moskva" in the Black Sea near Odessa, it was severely damaged” ( here ). 

Other examples of the miscaptioned image shared on social media can be seen ( ), ( here ), ( ), ( ), ( here ).

The image is not recent, however, and a reverse image search shows that it was published by Reuters in June 2021 with the caption: “Smoke rises from Iran navy's largest ship in Jask port in the Gulf, Iran, June 2, 2021. WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS” ( here ). 

The image was published widely by other outlets at the time  including The Wall Street Journal and the BBC (, ( ). 

A Twitter advanced search also reveals that the photograph was shared across social media in June 2021, in posts likewise claiming it shows the sunken Iranian vessel ( ) , ( ).

Russia's lead warship in the Black Sea sank on Thursday, Russia's defence ministry announced, after what Ukraine said was a missile strike and Russia described as an explosion of ammunition on board ( here ). 

Reuters previously addressed miscaptioned images with claims that the photographs showed the sinking of the Moskva on April 14, 2022 ( here ). 


Miscaptioned. An image of a vessel on fire was taken in June 2021 when Iran’s largest navy ship at the time, the Kharg, sank in the Gulf of Oman. The photograph is unrelated to the sinking of the Moskva, Russia’s flagship of the Black Sea fleet, in April 2022. 

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work  here .