Iran Sank a Replica US Aircraft Carrier, Then Left It in the Strait of Hormuz — Now It Can Seriously Disrupt Ships in a Vital Oil Route Worth $878 Million a Day

 In Sea, Iran, Smart Cities, Air, N11
  • Iran sank a repli­ca US air­craft car­ri­er in a train­ing exer­cise on July 29 in an appar­ent show of naval strength.
  • But the wreck — which remains in the narrow body of water — could now affect traf­fic in the Strait of Hormuz, where ships carry mil­lions of dol­lars of oil every day.
  • A mar­itime expert told Forbes the wreck is “an acci­dent wait­ing to happen” and “poses a dis­tinct risk to com­mer­cial ship­ping.”
  • Tides may cause the wreck to drift and poten­tial­ly endan­ger pass­ing oil tankers, a ship cap­tain told Forbes.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Iran sank and abandoned a dummy US aircraft carrier in the middle of the Strait of Hormuz 11 days ago. The wreck, which Iranian forces have left in the narrow stretch of water, now poses a risk to ships car­ry­ing bil­lions of dol­lars of oil through it every week.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps sunk the Nimitz-class model during a July 28 and July 29 training exercise to seem­ing­ly demon­strate how Iranian sea forces would take on a US air­craft car­ri­er. 

The wreck­age now lies in shal­low waters near the busy port of Bandar Abbas, where it poses a risk to the thou­sands of marine ves­sels that pass through the strait each week, accord­ing to marine experts.

Paul Edward Roche, a former pres­i­dent of the Irish Institute of Master Mariners, told Forbes that the wreck is “an acci­dent wait­ing to happen,” which “poses a dis­tinct risk to com­mer­cial ship­ping.”

Roche, accord­ing to Forbes, is also con­cerned that the wreck may be ele­vat­ed by the tides and drift west­ward, towards the entrance of the port of Bandar Abbas.

Iran strait of hormuz exercise on replica US aircraft carrier

Revolutionary Guard speedboats circle around the replica aircraft carrier in the Strait of Hormuz on July 28, 2020.
Sepahnews via AP

An unnamed ship cap­tain told Forbes he usu­al­ly keeps his ship 0.5 nau­ti­cal miles from wrecks. “But this ship­wreck can change posi­tion, so a dis­tance of 1 nau­ti­cal is more appro­pri­ate,” the person said.

Despite mea­sur­ing only 21 miles across at its widest point, the Strait of Hormuz is one of the world's busiest shipping channels. It is an inter­na­tion­al water­way, mean­ing no one for­mal­ly con­trols it.

According to 2018 data from the US Energy Information Administration, some 21 mil­lion bar­rels of oil pass through the strait every day. That’s $878 mil­lion of oil every day at current oil prices.

Colliding with the wreck could see the hull of a pass­ing ferry or oil tanker breached, poten­tial­ly spilling thou­sands of tons of oil into the sea, and desta­bi­liz­ing world prices.

The Strait of Hormuz is often the scene of tit-for-tat shows of mil­i­tary strength between Iran and the US and UK.

The US Navy mocked Iran in the aftermath of the exercise, post­ing a photo to social media of a dummy ship with the cap­tion “Iran builds target ship. They’re experts at that.”

Get the latest Oil WTI price here.

Business Insider: Defense source|articles

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