Strait of Hormuz

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The Strait of Hormuz (Arabic: مضيق هرمز‎—Madīq Hurmuz,Persian: تنگه هرمزTangeh-ye Hormoz) is a narrow, strategically important waterway 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 54 kilometres (29 nmi) wide.[1] It is the only sea passage to the open ocean for large areas of the petroleum-exporting Persian Gulf. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, an average of about 15 tankers carrying 16.5 to 17 million barrels of crude oil normally pass through the strait every day, making it one of the world's most strategically important choke points. This represents 40% of the world's seaborne oil shipments, and 20% of all world shipments.[2]

Contents

Navigation

Ships moving through the Strait follow a Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS), which separates inbound from outbound traffic to reduce the risk of collision. The traffic lane is six miles (10 km) wide, including two two-mile (3 km)-wide traffic lanes, one inbound and one outbound, separated by a two-mile (3 km) wide separation median.

To traverse the Strait, ships pass through the territorial waters of Iran and Oman under the transit passage provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.[1] Although not all countries have ratified the convention,[3] most countries, including the U.S.,[4] accept these customary navigation rules as codified in the Convention. Oman has a radar site LQI to monitor the TSS in the strait of Hormuz. This site is located on a small island on the peak of Mussandam Peninsula.

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