Article posted first at ConcenedAmericanCitizens by my great fried and mentor, Mano Bach. Mano was an Admiral is the Shah’s Navy before Jimmy Carter with his distorted sense of reality ushered in the Iranian Revolution, the capture of hostages at the US Iranian Embassy and the ouster of the Shah.
The Iranian people were very strong alleys before Carter, the Iranians still like America and seek the freedoms we have. The saber-rattling on both sides is counter productive. With help America and other countries desiring to keep the theocracy from developing this technology.
Facts must be known by the free world.
The Strait of Hormuz is a narrow waterway connecting the sea of Oman to the Persian Gulf. It forms naturally the narrowest point between Omani and Iran. It is about 21 nautical miles wide, mostly shallow water. On the north of the Strait of Hormuz is the Iranian coastline and Oman is located on the south of the Strait of Hormuz with its rocky peninsula called Musandam. There is a monitoring radar (LQI) located on a small Island on the peak of this peninsula, operated by Oman. Oman monitors the waterway traffic twenty-four hours a day. The ownership of the Strait of Hormuz waterway does not belong to Iran or Oman, it is considered an international waterway. All sea vessels can pass through the Strait of Hormuz, in and out, freely without any interruption.
Most of the waterway outside of the Strait of Hormuz is shallow and rocky, particularly in the northern part, closer to the Iranian coastline. Therefore it is impossible for large ships and oil tankers to navigate through this shallow area. The navigational deeper water is further from the Iranian coastline and closer to the southern shores of Oman. However, inside of the Persian Gulf the underwater situation is reversed and the deeper water is further from Oman and part of the navigational waterway falls within Iranian territorial waters (within 12 Nautical miles).
Any ship prior to entrance into the Persian Gulf must navigate through the Oman and Emirate territorial water and while inside the Persian Gulf must pass through the Iranian territorial water.
All ships going through the Strait of Hormuz must follow the international Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS), which separates the inbound traffic from the outbound traffic. Most of the time the navigational condition in the Strait of Hormuz is difficult due to high wind and rough sea. The navigational part of the Strait of Hormuz is only six miles wide. It is divided into three corridors. The inbound corridor is two miles wide and the outbound corridor is two miles wide. They are separated by two miles separation median from each other to reduce the risk of collision.
The narrowest point of the entrance of the Strait of Hormuz is about 56 Kilometers wide. The minimum depth of the water at this point is about 100 meters and the sea floor gradually deepens to a maximum of 900 meters.
The closure of the Strait of Hormuz is possible in theory but extremely difficult and very probably impossible in practice. In order to understand the magnitude of this difficult task for the closure of the Strait of Hormuz, it would require blocking at a minimum of 36,000 linear feet in 100 meters deep choppy water. It requires a minimum fleet of three hundreds plus vessels to sink precisely linearly. However the underwater current makes positioning further difficult and there is always the possibility of underwater movement.
The logistics of this operation is beyond any country’s ability and the Strait of Hormuz practically cannot be closed. The only thing that Iran can do is to harass the traffic within the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.
I personally feel that Iran is trying to intimidate the Obama Administration and testing the United States to see their reaction. Until Iran’s nuclear capabilities are completed, they would be foolish to start an international incident.