The Bab-el-Mandeb acts as a strategic link between the Indian Ocean
and the Mediterranean Sea
via the Red Sea and the Suez Canal
. In 2006, an estimated 3.3 million barrels (520,000 m3
) of oil passed through the strait per day, out of a world total of about 43 million barrels per day (6,800,000 m3
/d) moved by tankers.
The distance across is about 20 miles (30 km) from Ras Menheli
in Yemen to Ras Siyyan
in Djibouti. The island of Perim
divides the strait into two channels, of which the eastern, known as the Bab Iskender
(Alexander's Strait), is 2 miles (3 km) wide and 16 fathoms
(30 m) deep, while the western, or Dact-el-Mayun
, has a width of about 16 miles (25 km) and a depth of 170 fathoms (310 m). Near the coast of Djibouti lies a group of smaller islands known as the "Seven Brothers
". There is a surface current inwards in the eastern channel, but a strong undercurrent outwards in the western channel.
Paleo-environmental and tectonic
events in the Miocene
epoch created the Danakil Isthmus, a land bridge forming a broad connection between Yemen and Ethiopia.
During the last 100,000 years eustatic sea level
fluctuations have led to alternate opening and closing of the straits.
According to the recent single origin hypothesis
, the straits of Bab-el-Mandeb were probably witness to the earliest migrations of modern humans
. It is presumed that the oceans were then much lower and the straits were much shallower or dry, which allowed a series of emigrations along the southern coast of Asia.
The British East India Company
unilaterally seized the island of Perim
in 1799 on behalf of its Indian empire
. The government of Britain
asserted its ownership in 1857 and erected a lighthouse there in 1861, using it to command the Red Sea
and the trade routes through the Suez Canal.
It was used as a coaling station to refuel steamships until 1935 when the reduced use of coal as fuel rendered the operation unprofitable.
The British presence continued until 1967 when the island became part of the People's Republic of South Yemen
. Before the handover, the British government had put forward before the United Nations a proposal for the island to be internationalised
as a way to ensure the continued security of passage and navigation in the Bab-el-Mandeb, but this was refused.
On February 22, 2008, a company owned by Tarek bin Laden
unveiled plans to build a bridge named Bridge of the Horns
across the strait, linking Yemen
Middle East Development LLC has issued a notice to construct a bridge passing across the Red Sea that would be the longest suspended passing in the world.
The project has been assigned to engineering company COWI
in collaboration with architect studio Dissing+Weitling
, both from Denmark. It was announced in 2010 that Phase 1 had been delayed and as of mid-2016 nothing more has been heard about the project.
The most significant towns and cities along both the Djiboutian and Yemeni sides of the Bab-el-Mandeb
- ^ a b c d Baynes, T. S., ed. (1878), "Bab-el-Mandeb" , Encyclopædia Britannica, 3 (9th ed.), New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, p. 179
- ^ World Oil Transit Chokepoints Archived February 18, 2015, at the Wayback Machine, Energy Information Administration, US Department of Energy
- ^ Henri J. Dumont (2009). The Nile: Origin, Environments, Limnology and Human Use. Monographiae Biologicae. 89. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 603. ISBN 9781402097263.
- ^ Climate in Earth History. National Academies. 1982. p. 124. ISBN 9780309033299.
- ^ Official website of EOTC Archived June 25, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
- ^ Gavin, p. 291.
- ^ Halliday, Fred (1990). Revolution and Foreign Policy, the Case of South Yemen, 1967–1987. Cambridge University Press. p. 11. ISBN 0-521-32856-X.
- ^ Hakim, pp. 17-18.
- ^ BBC NEWS | Africa | Tarek Bin Laden's Red Sea bridge
- ^ Tom Sawyer (May 1, 2007). "Notice-to-Proceed Launches Ambitious Red Sea Crossing". Engineering News-Record.
- ^ "CIA World Factbook". The World Factbook. Langley, Virginia: Central Intelligence Agency.
Last edited on 26 April 2021, at 21:07
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