Strait of Hormuz

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The Strait of Hormuz (red arrow) connects the Arabian Peninsula and Persian Gulf.
Blue arrows illustrate the strait's Traffic Separation Scheme.
Satellite image
Map of Strait of Hormuz with maritime political boundaries (2004)
Historical map of the area (1892)

The Strait of Hormuz is a narrow, strategically important strait between the Gulf of Oman in the southeast and the Persian Gulf. On the north coast is Iran and on the south coast is the United Arab Emirates and Musandam, an exclave of Oman.

The strait at its narrowest is 21 nautical miles (39 km) wide.[1] Around 20% of the world's oil passes through the strait.[1]

Events[change | edit source]

Operation Praying Mantis[change | edit source]

On 18 April 1988, the U.S. Navy had a one-day battle against Iranian forces in and around the strait. The battle, called Operation Praying Mantis by the U.S. side, was started in retaliation for the 14 April mining of the USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG-58) by Iran. U.S. forces sank one frigate, one gunboat, and as many as six armed speedboats in the engagement and seriously damaged a second frigate.

The downing of Iran Air 655[change | edit source]

On 3 July 1988, 290 people were killed when an Iran Air Airbus A300 passenger jet was shot down over the strait by the United States Navy guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes.

Collision between USS Newport News and tanker Mogamigawa[change | edit source]

On 8 January 2007, the nuclear submarine USS Newport News, traveling submerged, hit M/V Mogamigawa, a 300,000-ton Japanese-flagged very large crude tanker, south of the strait.[2] There were no injuries, and no oil leaked from the tanker.

Tensions in 2008[change | edit source]

2008 US-Iranian naval dispute[change | edit source]

A series of naval stand-offs between Iranian speedboats and U.S. warships in the Strait of Hormuz occurred in December 2007 and January 2008. U.S. officials said Iran was harassing and provoking their naval vessels. Iranian officials said this was not true.

Iranian defence policy[change | edit source]

On 29 June 2008, the commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, Ali Mohammed Jafari, said that if Iran were attacked by Israel or the United States, it would close off the Strait of Hormuz. This would be bad for the oil markets. The US said that such an action by Iran would be an act of war. The U.S. would not allow this.[3]

Naval activity in 2008[change | edit source]

In the last week of July 2008, in the Operation Brimstone,[4] dozens of U.S. and foreign navy ships prepared for battle in the shallow waters off the coast of Iran.

As of 11 August 2008, more than 40 U.S. and allied ships were on the way to the Strait of Hormuz. There would be a total of five battle groups, not counting submarines.[5]

Collision between USS Hartford and USS New Orleans[change | edit source]

On 20 March 2009, United States Navy Los Angeles-class submarine Hartford collided with the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock New Orleans in the strait. The collision slightly injured 15 sailors aboard the Hartford. It opened a fuel tank aboard the New Orleans, spilling 25,000 US gallons (95 m3) of marine diesel fuel.[6]

Tensions in 2011–2012[change | edit source]

On 27 December 2011, Iranian Vice President Mohammad-Reza Rahimi said Iran would stop oil supply from the Strait of Hormuz should Iran be limited in their oil exports.[7]

On 3 January 2012, Iran threatened to take action if the U.S. Navy moves an aircraft carrier back into the Persian Gulf.[8]

On 7 January 2012, the United Kingdom said that it would be sending the Type 45 destroyer HMS Daring to the Persian Gulf. Daring, which is the lead ship of her class is said to be one of the "most advanced warships" in the world. The ship will have its first mission in the Persian Gulf.[9] The British Government said that this move has been long-planned, as Daring will replace another Armilla patrol frigate.[10]

On 9 January 2012, Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said that Iran would not close the Strait of Hormuz.[11]

By 23 January, a flotilla was made by countries against Iran's threats to close the Hormuz Strait.[12] These ships were in the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea off the coast of Iran.

References[change | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Strait of Hormuz". World Oil Transit Chokepoints. U.S. Energy Information Administration. 30 December 2011. http://www.eia.gov/countries/regions-topics.cfm?fips=WOTC#hormuz. Retrieved 14 January 2012.
  2. Dorsey, Jack (10 January 2007). "Navy says speed of tanker sucked submarine up to surface". The Virginian Pilot. http://hamptonroads.com/node/205951.
  3. "U.S. Navy Commander Warns Iran: Don't Try Closing Gulf Oil Passageway". Fox News. 2 July 2008. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,374905,00.html.
  4. "JTFEX 08-4 "Operation Brimstone" Flexes Allied Force Training". US Navy. 15 July 2008. http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=38478.
  5. "Three major US naval strike forces due this week in Persian Gulf". Debkafile. 11 August 2008. http://www.debka.com/headline.php?hid=5499.
  6. "U.S. Navy vessels in Bahrain for evaluation after collision". CNN. 20 March 2009. http://articles.cnn.com/2009-03-20/world/navy.vessels.collide_1_marine-diesel-fuel-navy-amphibious-ship-persian-gulf?_s=PM:WORLD. Retrieved 8 January 2012.
  7. "Oil jumps over 2% as Iran threatens supplies". CNN. 27 December 2011. http://money.cnn.com/2011/12/27/markets/oil_iran/index.htm?hpt=hp_t2.
  8. Hafezi, Parisa (3 January 2012). "Iran threatens U.S. Navy as sanctions hit economy". Reuters. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/03/us-iran-usa-idUSTRE80208P20120103. Retrieved 8 January 2012.
  9. Harding, Thomas (6 January 2012). "Royal Navy sends its mightiest ship to take on the Iranian show of force in the Gulf". The Telegraph (London). http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/defence/8997956/Royal-Navy-sends-its-mightiest-ship-to-take-on-the-Iranian-show-of-force-in-the-Gulf.html. Retrieved 8 January 2012.
  10. "HMS Daring to head for the Gulf". Press Association. 7 January 2012. http://www.google.com/hostednews/ukpress/article/ALeqM5i7M_kVZAIV-1CSF6rnljPJ6eHnyg?docId=N0842061325887459210A. Retrieved 8 January 2012.
  11. "Iran and the Strait of Hormuz". Tabeer. http://subyraman.com/iran-and-the-strait-of-hormuz/.
  12. "Iran: Flotilla Of Warships Sent Through Strait of Hormuz Heightens Tensions". Huffington Post. 23 January 2012. http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/01/23/iran-flotilla-of-warships_n_1222734.html?ref=uk. Retrieved 24 January 2012.

Other websites[change | edit source]

Media related to Strait of Hormuz at Wikimedia Commons

Coordinates: 26°34′N 56°15′E / 26.567°N 56.25°E / 26.567; 56.25