As the only sea passage from the Persian Gulf to the open sea, the Strait of Hormuz is the world’s most important hydrocarbon chokepoint, accounting for almost 40 percent of global energy transport.
For decades, the Strait of Hormuz has been a flashpoint between the US-backed Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Islamic Republic of Iran. The two camps are engaged in several proxy wars in Yemen, Iraq and Syria.
While Iran has repeatedly threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz in the past, recent attacks in the adjacent waters have heightened fears of an Iranian blockade. Although the likelihood of armed conflict in the region remains low, the impact of hostilities are far too serious to ignore.
In case of conflict, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard would likely mine the Strait of Hormuz and conduct sea interdiction operations in order to disrupt commercial activities. Iranian forces would likely turn the Persian Gulf into an anti-ship engagement zone and launch out of area operations in the Arabian Sea.
An armed closure of the Hormuz Strait would cause a serious disruption of maritime shipping operations, causing energy and insurance prices to skyrocket. Seafarers in the region would run in danger of being caught in the crossfire or deliberately harassed by hostile forces.
In case of conflict, commercial operators should subscribe to high-end threat intelligence services that can provide early warning and timely risk assessments.
Ship-hardening measures and increased maritime situational awareness can also add tactical value in geopolitical high-risk areas
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