Arabian Sea

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Arabian Sea
center
Arabian Sea map.png
Coordinates 14°N 65°E / 14°N 65°E / 14; 65Coordinates: 14°N 65°E / 14°N 65°E / 14; 65
Type Sea
Part of Indian Ocean
Basin countries India, Iran, Maldives, Oman, Pakistan, Somalia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen
Max. width 2,400 km (1,500 mi)
Surface area 3,862,000 km2 (1,491,000 sq mi)
Max. depth 4,652 m (15,262 ft)
Islands Astola island, Basavaraja Durga Island, Lakshadweep, Piram Island, Pirotan, Socotra

The Arabian Sea is a region of the northern Indian Ocean bounded on the northeast and east by the Indian Peninsula on the west by Somalia and the Arabian Peninsula, on the north by Pakistan and Iran and on the South by the Maldives. Historically the sea has been known by other names including the Erythraean Sea and the Persian Sea. Its total area is 3,862,000 km2 (1,491,000 sq mi) and its maximum depth is 4,652 metres (15,262 ft). The Gulf of Aden is in the southwest, connecting the Arabian Sea to the Red Sea through the strait of Bab-el-Mandeb, and the Gulf of Oman is in the northwest, connecting it to the Persian Gulf.

The Arabian Sea has been crossed by important marine trade routes since the third or second millennium BCE. Major seaports include Kandla Port, Okha Port, Mumbai Port, Nhava Sheva Port (Navi Mumbai), Mormugão Port (Goa), New Mangalore Port and Kochi Port in India, the Port of Karachi and the Gwadar Port in Pakistan, Chabahar Port in Iran and the Port of Salalah in Oman. The largest islands in the Arabian Sea include Socotra (Yemen), Masirah Island (Oman), Lakshadweep (India) and Astola Island (Pakistan).

Geography[edit]

Arabian Sea from space

The Arabian Sea's surface area is about 3,862,000 km2 (1,491,130 sq mi).[1] The maximum width of the Sea is approximately 2,400 km (1,490 mi), and its maximum depth is 4,652 metres (15,262 ft). The biggest river flowing into the Sea is the Indus River.

The Arabian Sea has two important branches — the Gulf of Aden in the southwest, connecting with the Red Sea through the strait of Bab-el-Mandeb; and the Gulf of Oman to the northwest, connecting with the Persian Gulf. There are also the gulfs of Khambhat, Kutch and, Mannar on the Indian Coast.

17th century map depicting the locations of the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea

The countries with coastlines on the Arabian Sea are Somalia, Yemen, Oman, Pakistan, India and the Maldives. There are several large cities on the sea's coast including Male, Kavaratti, Cape Comorin (Kanyakumari), Colachel, Kovalam, Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Alappuzha, Kochi, Kozhikode, Kannur, Kasaragod, Mangalore, Bhatkal, Karwar, Vasco, Panjim, Malvan, Ratnagiri, Alibag, Mumbai, Daman, Valsad, Surat, Bharuch, Khambhat, Bhavnagar, Diu, Somnath, Mangrol, Porbandar, Dwarka, Okha, Jamnagar, Kandla, Gandhidham, Mundra, Koteshwar, Keti Bandar, Karachi, Ormara, Pasni, Gwadar, Chabahar, Muscat, Duqm, Salalah, Al Ghaydah, Aden, Bargal, and Hafun.

Beach at Bekal Fort, Kerala
Ormara beach, west side of the city

Limits[edit]

The International Hydrographic Organization defines the limits of the Arabian Sea as follows:[2]

Alternative names[edit]

The Arabian Sea historically and geographically has been referred to by many different names by Arab travellers and European geographers, that include[3] Indian Sea, Persian Sea, Sindhu Sagar,[4] Erythraean Sea,[5] Sindh Sea,[citation needed] and Akhzar Sea.[citation needed]

Trade routes[edit]

The Arabian Sea has been an important marine trade route since the era of the coastal sailing vessels from possibly as early as the 3rd millennium BCE, certainly the late 2nd millennium BCE through the later days known as the Age of Sail. By the time of Julius Caesar, several well-established combined land-sea trade routes depended upon water transport through the Sea around the rough inland terrain features to its north.

Names, routes and locations of the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea

These routes usually began in the Far East or down river from Madhya Pradesh with transshipment via historic Bharuch (Bharakuccha), traversed past the inhospitable coast of today's Iran then split around Hadhramaut into two streams north into the Gulf of Aden and thence into the Levant, or south into Alexandria via Red Sea ports such as Axum. Each major route involved transhipping to pack animal caravan, travel through desert country and risk of bandits and extortionate tolls by local potentiates.

This southern coastal route past the rough country in the southern Arabian Peninsula (Yemen and Oman today) was significant, and the Egyptian Pharaohs built several shallow canals to service the trade, one more or less along the route of today's Suez canal, and another from the Red Sea to the Nile River, both shallow works that were swallowed up by huge sand storms in antiquity. Later the kingdom of Axum arose in Ethiopia to rule a mercantile empire rooted in the trade with Europe via Alexandria.

Major ports[edit]

The Kochi Port located on the south-west coast of India is the nearest Indian port to the international shipping routes, as well as one of the largest and busiest ports serving the Arabian Sea. Seen here is the International Container Transshipment Terminal, the only such facility in India.

The Port of Karachi is Pakistan's largest and busiest seaport. It is located between the Karachi towns of Kiamari and Saddar.

The Port of Karachi in Pakistan's largest city, Karachi, with some of the city's residential areas visible. The port is one of the busiest in the Arabian Sea

The Gwadar Port is a warm-water, deep-sea port situated at Gwadar in Balochistan, Pakistan at the apex of the Arabian Sea and at the entrance of the Persian Gulf, about 460 km west of Karachi and approximately 75 km (47 mi) east of Pakistan's border with Iran. The port is located on the eastern bay of a natural hammerhead-shaped peninsula jutting out into the Arabian Sea from the coastline.

Port of Salalah in Salalah, Oman is also a major port in the area. The International Task Force often uses the port as a base. There is a significant number of warships of all nations coming in and out of the port, which makes it a very safe bubble. The port handled just under 3.5m teu[clarification needed] in 2009.[6]

Jawaharlal Nehru Port in Mumbai is the largest port in the Arabian Sea, and the largest container port in India. Major Indian ports in the Arabian Sea are Mundra Port, Kandla Port, Nava Sheva, Kochi Port, Mumbai Port, and Mormugão.[7][8]

Islands[edit]

There are several islands in the Arabian Sea, with the most important ones being Lakshadweep Islands (India), Socotra (Yemen), Masirah (Oman) and, Astola Island (Pakistan).

The Lakshadweep Islands (formerly known as the Laccadive, Minicoy, and Aminidivi Islands) is a group of islands in the Laccadive Sea region of Arabian Sea, 200 to 440 km (120 to 270 mi) off the south western coast of India. The archipelago is a Union Territory and is governed by the Union Government of India. Lakshadweep comes from Lakshadwipa, which means "one hundred thousand islands" in Sanskrit. The islands form the smallest Union Territory of India: their total surface area is just 32 km2 (12 sq mi). The lagoon area covers about 4,200 km2 (1,600 sq mi), the territorial waters area 20,000 km2 (7,700 sq mi) and the exclusive economic zone area 400,000 km2 (150,000 sq mi).The islands are the northernmost of the Lakshadweep-Maldives-Chagos group of islands.

Astola Island, also known as Jezira Haft Talar in Balochi, or 'Island of the Seven Hills', is a small, uninhabited island in the northern tip of the Arabian Sea in Pakistan's territorial waters.

Landsat view over Socotra, a Yemeni island.

Socotra also spelled Soqotra is the largest island, being part of a small archipelago of four islands. It lies some 240 kilometres (150 mi) east of the Horn of Africa and 380 kilometres (240 mi) south of the Arabian Peninsula.

Masirah is an island off the East coast of Oman.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Arabian Sea, Encyclopædia Britannica
  2. ^ "Limits of Oceans and Seas, 3rd edition" (PDF). International Hydrographic Organization. 1953. Retrieved 7 February 2010. 
  3. ^ "The Voyage around the Erythraean Sea". washington.edu. 
  4. ^ "Kamat's Potpourri: The Arabian Sea". kamat.com. 
  5. ^ The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea:Travel and Trade in the Indian Ocean by a Merchant of the First Century
  6. ^ Salalah’s versatility beats the slump Archived October 25, 2012, at the Wayback Machine., Port of Salalah
  7. ^ "TRAFFIC HANDLED AT MAJOR PORTS (LAST 7 YEARS)" (PDF). shipping.gov.in. 
  8. ^ "WORLD PORT RANKINGS" (PDF). aapa.files.cms-plus.com. 2009. 

References[edit]

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Arabian Sea". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

External links[edit]