There’s no denying that the Suez Canal is the world’s most important waterway. The reason: about 12% of the global trade flowing through a single canal, one connecting two continents – Asia and Europe. The canal is so strategic that world powers have fought over the waterway since it was completed in 1869.
Sandwiched between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, the Strait of Hormuz is the only sea passage connecting the Persian Gulf to the open ocean. In other words, it is the lifeline of the Arab world, the most notable among them being Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.
Although the narrowest point in the strait is just 33km wide, the shipping lanes in both directions are only 3km wide.
If you’ve been following maritime incidents, you’d know that this Strait is in the frontline when it comes to the battle between Iran and the United States. So much so that the United States Fifth Fleet, based in Manama, Bahrain, is responsible for protecting maritime shipping lanes in this region.
Happy 10th Anniversary, many would say. But this particular anniversary, which recalls the start of a visionary project, is somewhat different. In January 2010, a treaty was signed between the Kingdom of Denmark and the Federal Republic of Germany for the construction of a fixed link under the Fehmarnbelt, the 18 km Baltic strait running between the Danish island of Lolland and the German island of Fehmarn. Yet not everybody in Denmark or Germany feels like celebrating.