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Bandar Abbas: Iran’s main port now in the cross-hairs

PortandTerminal.com, July 21, 2019

Footage released shows the seized British Stena Impero tanker in Iran’s Bandar Abbas port. This is what we know about the port, Iran’s main trade gateway.

TEHRAN, IRAN – Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) said on Friday that its navy had captured the British-flagged oil tanker, Stena Impero, according to Iran’s state-run Press TV.  Footage released today shows the vessel at anchor in Iran’s main port, Bandar Abbas

The vessel was impounded with its 23 crew members on board at the port of Bandar Abbas after the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) seized it in the Strait of Hormuz on Friday.

Iran has warned the United Kingdom against escalating tensions between the two countries in the wake of its seizure of a British-flagged oil tanker – an act the UK government has called “hostile”.

Here’s what we know about Bandar Abbas

Bandar Abbas is strategically located on the narrow Straits of Hormuz, the choke point of global oil shipments from the Middle East.  Approximately 35% of the world’s seaborne oil shipments and 20% of oil traded worldwide passes through it annually. Not surprisingly given its strategic importance, Bandar Abbas is the headquarters for both the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy.

Bandar Abbas is a small, poor city with a population of just 527,000 people – tiny versus the capital Tehran’s 8.3 million people.

The city got its big chance for development in the second half of the 1970s under the shah. The shah’s vision was to turn Bandar Abbas into a hub of shipping in the Persian Gulf, but the 1979 Islamic Revolution and then the war with Iraq (1980-1988) disrupted the process.

Today, according to official estimates, 46 percent of the population of Bandar Abbas, live in decayed urban areas and unauthorized dwellings. Trade sanctions on Iran have only made life more difficult for those living in poverty.

The Port of Bandar Abbas

Iran relies heavily on the Port of Bandar Abbas, its biggest and ageing port located on the Persian Gulf. The port has a capacity of 3.3 million TEU and handles 90% of the country’s container throughput. While there is an oil refinery at Bandar Abbas and a naval base too, most of the country’s vital oil exports are sent from Kharg Island, located almost 400 miles away.

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