( Reuters) – The U.S. military on Wednesday stated Iranian forces quickly boarded a Liberian-flagged oil near the Strait of Hormuz, increasing tensions on the planet’s busiest oil waterway.

Sources stated the Iranian action was retaliation versus the Greek owner of a few of the vessels that were bring fuel to Venezuela.

The freights are covered by a U.S. warrant for seizure and the tankers are sailing to the United States.

Hormuz has been the website of lots of confrontations between regional and international powers over the last decades.

Below are information about the Strait:

WHAT IS THE STRAIT OF HORMUZ?

The strait lies between Oman and Iran

It links the Gulf with the Gulf of Oman to the south and the Arabian Sea beyond

It is 21 miles (33 km) wide at its narrowest point, with the shipping lane just two miles (3 km) broad in either direction

The UAE and Saudi Arabia have looked for to find other routes to bypass the Strait, including structure pipelines

WHY DOES IT MATTER?

In 2018, 21 million barrels each day (bpd) of oil flowed through it, or the equivalent of about 21%of global petroleum liquids need at the time, the U.S. Energy Information Administration says.

OPEC members Saudi Arabia, Iran, the UAE, Kuwait and Iraq export the majority of their crude via the Strait

Qatar, the world’s biggest liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter, sends out practically all its LNG through the Strait

POLITICAL TENSIONS

The United States has actually enforced sanctions on Iran targeted at halting its oil exports

Iran has threatened to disrupt oil deliveries through the Strait of Hormuz if the United States attempts to strangle its economy

The U.S. Fifth Fleet, based in Bahrain, is tasked with safeguarding commercial shipping in the area

MAJOR PAST INCIDENTS

1980-1988 – Throughout the Iran-Iraq war, the two sides sought to disrupt each other’s oil exports in what is called the Tanker War

July 1988 – U.S. warship Vincennes shoots down an Iranian airliner, eliminating all 290 aboard, in what Washington states was a mishap and Tehran says was a deliberate attack

Early 2008 – The United States says Iranian vessels threaten 3 U.S. Navy ships in the Strait

July 2010 – Japanese oil tanker M Star is assaulted in the Strait – a group called Abdullah Azzam Brigades connected to al Qaeda claims duty

January 2012 – Iran threatens to obstruct the Strait in retaliation for U.S. and European sanctions targeted at suppressing Tehran’s nuclear programme

May 2015 – Iranian ships take a container ship in the Strait and fire chance ats a Singapore-flagged tanker that Iran states harmed an oil platform

July 2018 – President Hassan Rouhani hints Iran could interrupt oil trade through the Strait in action to U.S. calls to decrease Iran’s oil exports to absolutely no

May 2019 – Four ships, consisting of 2 Saudi oil tankers, are assaulted in the Gulf just outside the Strait. U.S. authorities blame Iran, Tehran rejects the charges

June 2019 – 2 tankers are assaulted south of the Strait which Washington blames on Iran and Tehran rejects

June 2019 – Iran shoots down a U.S. drone

July 2019 – The USS Fighter destroys an Iranian drone in the Strait after it threatens the U.S. Navy ship however Iran rejects it has lost a drone

July 2019 – Iran seizes British-operated oil tanker Stena Impero in the Strait

Sources: Reuters/Refinitiv/Energy Info Administration

Reporting by Ahmad Ghaddar; editing by Barbara Lewis

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