Straits of Hormuz
By Micah Halpern
Saturday July 14, 2012
I've Been Thinking:
Let's talk about the Straits of Hormuz. Not the oil dimensions - everyone knows just how important the Straits are to transporting world oil from the Gulf to markets across the globe.
Let's talk about the geography of the Straits of Hormuz.
The Straits of Hormuz are narrower than one can imagine. At its widest point the Straits measure 69 nautical miles wide. At its narrowest it measures only 21 nautical miles wide. Only 6 of those miles are shipping lanes - the other 15 miles are too shallow and too murky to be used.
There are 2 lanes going out and 2 lanes coming in. Each of those lanes is a mile wide. There is a 2 mile buffer between them.
The Straits of Hormuz are territorial waters belonging to Oman and Iran. They are used for shipping lane out of tradition and through the good graces of Oman and Iran.
That's where the real problem emerges. Can Iran shut the Straits down? Yes they can. But will Iran shut the Straits down? Probably not.
Iran will taunt the West and Western powers will become flustered and then they will make mistakes.
In 2009 two United States vessels collided in the Straits. A submarine called the USS Hartford hit the USS New Orleans and amphibious craft. This is what happens when you play in the Straits.
Nobody plays better than Iran.
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