What You Need To Know About The Gulf Of Aden And Its Marine Mammals

Gincy Alphonse
Mar 20, 2023 By Gincy Alphonse
Originally Published on Mar 20, 2023
Edited by Archita Chaplot
Fact-checked by Pratiti Nath
Gulf of Aden facts will make you aware of the Sheba ridge.

The Gulf of Aden is a body of water located in the Arabian Sea.

It lies between Yemen on the Arabian sea and the Somali coast in East Africa. The gulf has played an important role in maritime trade for centuries and is also home to many marine mammals.

The modern Gulf of Aden was once known as the Gulf of Berbera, demonstrating how significant Berbera was in trade and commerce during the Medieval period. The Gulf of Aden is home to a wide variety of marine mammals.

This area is teeming with life, from dolphins and whales to seals and turtles.

This article talks about the threats these animals face and what we can do to protect them. Keep reading to know more about the Gulf of Aden, including its average depth, maximum depth, and what lies in the north, south, east, and west of Aden.

Origin Of The Name

The Gulf of Aden, located between the Arabian Peninsula and the African continent, is an extension of the Indian Ocean.

The Guardafui Channel connects the gulf to the Somali Sea to the south, and the Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb connects it to the Red Sea to the west. By way of the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, the gulf connects the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea.

It has a long history as a portion of the Erythraean Sea and as a vital oil trade route connecting Europe and the far east.

The Suez Canal maritime route, which connects the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, passes through the Gulf of Aden. As a result, the gulf's importance waned when the Egyptian government temporarily blocked the Suez Canal for renovations in the ’60s.

The Gulf of Aden is thought to have a maximum depth of approximately 8900 ft (2712 m) and an average depth of approximately 1,600 ft (487 m).

The Gulf of Aden is a significant shipping route, with over 20,000 ships traveling through it each year, making it a vital sea shipping route for the world economy. While we are familiar with the Gulf of Aden by its contemporary name, this is a relatively new phrase.

The biggest port city on Yemen's coast is known as Aden. The Gulf was identified as a suitable route to visit these places during the Greek invasions of Persia and the Indian subcontinent.

Along with the Gulf of Tadjoura and the Red Sea, the area was included in the Erythraean Sea. Several minor islands in the Gulf still have their Greek names renamed in common terms.

The term 'Gulf of Aden' is a very recent addition to the gulf's name.

The gulf is called after the Yemeni port city of 'Aden'. The aquatic body, however, was once considered a part of the Erythraean shore.

Various writers, notably Arab navigator Ibn Majid and Kurdish geographer Abu'l-Fida, referred to it as 'the Gulf of Berbera.' In the Sahil area, Berbera was a major port city.

Anti-Piracy Patrols In The Gulf Of Aden

The opening of the Red Sea is marked by the Gulf of Aden. The Gulf of Aden sees some 33,000 vessels pass through each year, with the great majority of recorded annual occurrences involving little more than irregular maritime traffic.

Combined with considerable international anti-piracy efforts, the number of piracy events in the Indian Ocean has dropped dramatically.

However, unfavorable conditions persist throughout the wider area, particularly in Yemen, which is still mired in civil war. Pirates in the Indian Ocean have also demonstrated their capacity to adapt and overcome obstacles that limit their operational capability.

Piracy, at least in its conventional form, is clearly no longer the most serious threat to commerce in the Indian Ocean.

The Gulf of Aden is shared by three countries: Djibouti to the eastern limit, Somalia to the southern limit, and Yemen to the north. The Western Front is a stretch of open water separated from the rest of the world by a continental shelf system.

The Gulf of Mexico covers 254,762 sq mi (410,000 sq km) and is divided between these three countries based on the length of their coastline along the Gulf.

These countries' Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) stretch into the Gulf, and intergovernmental agreements have been drafted to ensure that the area is divided fairly and legally.

Somalia has an area of over 497,096 sq mi (800,000 sq km), while Yemen has an area of just over 310,685 sq mi (500,000 sq km), and Djibouti has an area of less than 6213 sq mi (10,000 sq km).

Several islands belonging to Yemen and Somalia can be found in the Gulf.

Due to the shallowness of the region, there are few islands around Djibouti. Although the Tadjoura trench is Djibouti's main EEZ, it is somewhat narrow.

The Bab-el-Mandeb strait, which connects Djibouti city and Yemen, is further north.

The Gulf of Aden's northwestern border is represented by this. The Gulf of Aden's Western Front includes the Guardafui Channel, Yemen's Socotra Islands, and Somali Puntland.

Piracy in the Gulf of Aden, which initially became a major danger in 2005, has expanded exponentially since then, nearly doubling every year between 2006 and 2009. Several international initiatives have since followed UN Resolution 1816 of 2008, which first authorized governments to deploy warships for counter-piracy operations in Somali territorial waters.

Currently, approximately two dozen warships are on anti-piracy patrols in the region.

Despite this, Somali pirate raids continue unabated. This study aims to emphasize the major issues that naval patrols in the Gulf of Aden face, as well as the numerous choices available to the global shipping industry that need to visit major ports.

The Port Of Aden

Yemen's port of Aden is one of the main ports on the Gulf of Aden's northern coastline. The Gulf of Aden is considered part of the Suez Canal maritime route, which runs between the Mediterranean Sea and the Arabian Sea in the Indian Ocean.

As a result, the Gulf of Aden is a popular transport route for oil from the Persian Gulf.

Zeila, Yemen, Djibouti, Bosaso, and Berbera are among the Gulf of Aden's major ports. The Gulf of Aden became a popular pirate hangout in the 2000s.

The number of pirate attacks had dropped by 2013 as a result of increased security measures and multinational navy patrols. The Gulf of Aden is bordered by Somaliland, Somalia, Yemen, and Djibouti, among others.

The cities of Aden, Bir Ali, Al Mukalla, Balhaf, and Shokra all border the Gulf of Aden in Yemen. Djibouti City is the only city in Djibouti that borders the Gulf of Aden.

Berbera, Zelia, Maydh, Bosaso, and Las Khorey are cities surrounding the Gulf of Aden in Somalia and Somaliland.

While pirates have complete control over where they fight or attack the worldwide navy, the surface area of the water where events occur is a million square miles. As a result, the navies can implement stringent security measures while relying on optimism.

Aden is located 105 mi (170 km) east of Bab-el-Mandeb in Yemen. Its natural harbor is located in the crater of an extinct volcano, which now forms a peninsula connected to the mainland by a low isthmus.

Between the fifth and seventh centuries B.C.E., the ancient Kingdom of Aswan exploited this harbor, Front Bay. On the other side of the peninsula sits the current harbor.

Aden's population has grown to almost 590,000. The current port is encircled on the eastern side by Aden, which encloses a magnificent natural harbor. Little Aden's volcanic peninsula forms a near-mirror copy on the western side, enclosing the harbor and port.

The oil refinery and tanker port were built at Little Aden. Both were built by British Petroleum and operated by them until 1977, when they were transferred to Yemeni government ownership and administration.

Aden served as the capital of the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen until it was merged with the Yemen Arab Republic and designated as a free-trade zone. The Gulf of Aden is named for it.

Bab-El-Mandeb Strait

The Bab-el-Mandeb, Arabic for 'Gate of Tears,' is the strait that separates Asia (Yemen in the Arabian Peninsula) from Africa (Djibouti on the Horn of Africa). This strait connects the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea, and it's also known as the Mandab Strait.

The name comes from the hazards that accompany its navigation or from the number of people who drowned in the earthquake that divided Asia and Africa, according to an Arab tradition.

This strait is one of the busiest shipping waterways on the planet.

The distance between Ras Menheli on the Arabian coast and Ras Siyan on the African coast is around 20 mi (30 km).

The island of Perim splits the strait into two channels, the eastern limit of which is known as the Bab Iskender (Alexander's Strait) and is 2 mi (3 km) wide and 16 fathoms (30 m) deep, while the western or Dact-el-Mayun, is roughly 16 mi (25 km) wide and 170 fathoms deep (310 m).

The 'Seven Brothers' are a series of tiny islands off the coast of Africa.

In the eastern channel, there is a surface current inwards, but in the western channel, there is a strong undercurrent outwards.

Dangers In The Gulf Of Aden

The Gulf of Aden, a geologically young body of water, has a unique biodiversity that includes a wide range of fish, coral, seabirds, and invertebrates. During the history of human existence surrounding the gulf, this vast natural diversity has benefited from a relative lack of pollution.

Many people still regard piracy as a dormant threat rather than one that has been completely eradicated. This is partly due to problems with unregulated fishing by foreign vessels in Somali waters.

While multinational navies' presence in the Horn of Africa has helped to suppress terrorism, it has had little effect on other areas of maritime security. Terrorism, piracy, and human trafficking have all been launched on the Somali coast in the past.

Humans are also a threat to the region's aquatic life. Fishermen regularly catch turtles for their meat and eggs.

In several cases, local recreational beach use has resulted in the disturbance or death of nesting turtles. In some regions, there is growing evidence of depletion, which is attributed to a loss of control over state shark fisheries and illegal logging by fishermen who also capture sharks with fishing nets and long lines, inflicting coral reef damage.

On the other hand, environmentalists are concerned that the lack of a coordinated effort to regulate pollution could imperil the gulf's ecosphere. Whales, dolphins, and dugongs were previously common, but commercial hunting, particularly huge illegal hunting by the Soviet Union and Japan in the ’60s and ’70s, drastically reduced their numbers.

Only a few huge whales, such as Bryde's whales, blue whales, and toothed whales, are found in the deep seas.

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Written by Gincy Alphonse

Bachelor of Computer Application

Gincy Alphonse picture

Gincy AlphonseBachelor of Computer Application

As a skilled visual storyteller, Gincy's passion lies in bringing ideas to life through creative design. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Computer Application from New Horizon College and has perfected her expertise with a PG Diploma in Graphic Design from Arena Animation. Gincy's talent shines in the realm of branding design, digital imaging, layout design, and print and digital content writing. She believes that content creation and clear communication are art forms in themselves, and is constantly striving to refine her craft.

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Fact-checked by Pratiti Nath

Bachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology, Masters of Science specializing in Biotechnology

Pratiti Nath picture

Pratiti NathBachelor of Science specializing in Microbiology, Masters of Science specializing in Biotechnology

A Master's in Biotechnology from Presidency University and a Bachelor's in Microbiology from Calcutta University. Pratiti holds expertise in writing science and healthcare articles, and their inputs and feedback help writers create insightful content. They have interests in heritage, history, and climate change issues and have written articles for various websites across multiple subjects. Their experience also includes working with eco-friendly startups and climate-related NGOs.

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