8 narrow channels of vital importance

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If there was ever a "jugular vein" for the world's economy, then the Strait of Hormuz is where it is situated. Near the bottom end of the 600 mile long Persian (Arabian) Gulf, the Straits of Hormuz, at their narrowest point are just 34 miles across, between the Sultanate of Oman and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Vessels transiting the Straits of Hormuz, have to adhere to strict traffic separation schemes, which provide 2 mile wide channels for inbound and outward bound vessels, with a 2 mile buffer zone in between.

80% of the oil produced in the Persian Gulf is transported by tanker through the Straits of Hormuz, which means over 13 million barrels of oil per day. Such volumes make the Straits of Hormuz strategically vital, and at times of international tension in the Middle East, U.S. and British naval vessels are always present to ensure the continued flow of oil. Many of the small islands and coastlines are still disputed between Oman, Iran and the United Arab Emirates. It is estimated that globally, 35% of oil transported by sea, has to pass through the strait (which is 20% of the overall volume of oil transported by all means). 14 laden tankers on average pass through the Strait every day (with an equivilent number of empty ones, going the other way, in addition)

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