Gulf of Aden


Gulf of Aden

The Gulf of Aden ( _ar. خليج عدن; transliterated: "Khalyj 'Adan" Somali: "Khaleejka Cadan") is located in the Arabian Sea between Yemen on the south coast of the Arabian Peninsula and Somalia in the Horn of Africa. In the northwest, it connects with the Red Sea through the Bab-el-Mandeb strait.

Commerce and trade in the Gulf

The Gulf of Aden is a vital waterway for shipping, especially for Persian Gulf oil, making it an integral waterway in the world economy. [cite web|url=http://www.esa.int/esaEO/SEMWOXNFGLE_index_0.html|title=Earth from Space: The Gulf of Aden – the gateway to Persian oil|publisher=European Space Agency|date=2005-03-01|accessdate=2008-04-04] Approximately 11 percent of the world's seaborne petroleum passes through the Gulf of Aden on its way to the Suez Canal or to regional refineries. [cite web|url=http://www.itopf.com/information-services/country-profiles/documents/redsea.pdf|title=Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden|publisher=International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation (ITOPF)|year=2003|accessdate=2008-04-04] The main ports along the Gulf are Aden in Yemen, and Zeila, Berbera, and Bosaso in Somalia.

In earlier history, the city of Crater, located just east of the modern city of Aden, was an important port in regional trade. Crater was the principal harbor of the pre-Islamic kingdom of Awsan, and after its annexation by the kingdom of Saba at the end of the 5th century, the port of Crater played a significant role in connecting Africa with Arabia.

Hydrography of the Gulf

The temperature of the Gulf of Aden varies between convert|15|C|F and convert|28|C|F, depending on the season and the appearance of monsoons. The salinity of the Gulf at convert|10|m|ft depth varies from 35.3 along the eastern Somali coast to as high as 37.3 ‰ in the Gulf's center, [cite web|url=http://www.fao.org/WAIRDOCS/FNS/FN023E/ch2.htm|title=Hydrographic Survey Results|publisher=Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)|year=2008|accessdate=2008-04-06] while the oxygen content in the Gulf of Aden at the same depth is typically between 4.0 and 5.0 mL/L. [cite web|url=http://www.fao.org/WAIRDOCS/FNS/FN023E/ch2.htm|title=Hydrographic Survey Results|publisher=Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)|year=2008|accessdate=2008-04-06]

Ecology of the Gulf

A geologically young body of water, the Gulf of Aden has a unique biodiversity that contains many varieties of fish, coral, seabirds, and invertebrates. This rich ecological diversity has benefited from a relative lack of pollution during the history of human habitation around the Gulf, but environmental groups fear that the lack of a coordinated effort to control pollution may jeopardize the Gulf's ecosphere. [cite web|url=http://www.unep.org/regionalseas/Programmes/Non-UNEP_administered_Programmes/Red_Sea_and_Gulf_of_Eden/default.asp|title=Red Sea & Gulf of Aden|publisher=United Nations Environment Programme|year=2005|accessdate=2008-04-04]

Piracy in Somalia and the Gulf

The Gulf of Aden is an area known for acts of piracy, [cite web|url=http://www.arabnews.com/?page=4&section=0&article=66307&d=3&m=7&y=2005|title=US Coalition Presence in Gulf Helps Cut Piracy: Commander|publisher=Arab News|date=2005-07-03|accessdate=2008-04-04] making its waters dangerous for water transport. The International Maritime Bureau reported over two dozen actual and attempted attacks in 2007 in the Gulf off of the coast of Somalia. [cite web|url=http://www.arabianbusiness.com/506828-heavily-armed-pirates-spark-regional-shipping-alert|title=Heavily armed pirates spark regional shipping alert|publisher=ArabianBusiness.com|date=2007-12-24|accessdate=2008-04-04]

On 4 April 2008, pirates commandeered a French luxury yacht in the Gulf of Aden with 34 crew members off the coast of Somalia. [cite web|url=http://africa.reuters.com/wire/news/usnBAN457575.html|title=Pirates storm French yacht off Somalia|publisher=Reuters|date=2008-04-04|accessdate=2008-04-04]

On 15 September 2008, a Hong Kong chemical tanker was seized by pirates in the gulf off Somalia. The crew of 22 consisted of 18 Indians, two Filipinos, one Bangladeshi and one Russian. As of 17 September 2008, a spokesman for the owner and management of the ship said that negotiations for the release of the ship and crew had yet to begin. [cite web|url=http://thestandard.com.hk/news_detail.asp?we_cat=11&art_id=71773&sid=20614301&con_type=1&d_str=20080917&fc=4|title=Pirates seize HK tanker|publisher=The Standard|date=2008-09-17|accessdate=2008-09-17]

The most recent attempt at piracy, 4 October 2008, was of a arms ship. Four attempts were foiled by outmaneuvering. [cite web|url=http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/africa/10/04/somalia.priates.attacks.ap/index.html#cnnSTCText]

Moreover, a number of terrorist attacks have been carried out in the Gulf, including the 2000 attack on the American guided missile destroyer the USS "Cole".

Notes


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