The Gulf of Aden, also popularly known as the Gulf of Berbera, is a deepwater basin that is significant due to its contribution to the marine and oil industries. The gulf is also famous for its diverse marine species. Common fish in the region are sharks, dolphins, tuna, billfish, sardines, and mackerels. Whales are also a common sight at the Gulf of Aden. The water flow in the gulf is often influenced by monsoon winds, high salinity of the water, and eddies. Countries that have coastlines on the Gulf of Aden are Yemen, Somalia, and Djibouti. It also links the Arabian Sea and the Red Sea.
Yemen’s coastline, which is approximately 2,200 kilometers long, is shared by the Arabian Sea, the Red Sea, and the Gulf of Aden. Examples of Yemeni ports located along the Gulf of Aden coastline include Port of Mukalla, Aden, Ash Shihr Terminal, and Port of Nishtun. The government body that is responsible for the operations in these ports and terminals is the Yemen Ports Authority. Its main focus is port Aden which deals in the shipment of petroleum products as well as oil refinery.
The Port of Berbera is a major class port in Somalia which is located along the Gulf of Aden. It is between 11.5 and 12 meters deep and is found along the oil route. Historically, the port used to be a military base. Currently, plans are underway to expand the port to enable it to facilitate regional trade and more efficient port operations. DP World, which is the global logistics company spearheading the expansion, will also oversee construction of roads linking the port to Ethiopia.
The Djibouti coastline is shared by the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea. The major port on the Gulf of Aden is the Port of Djibouti. There are two major operations that take place at the port namely the Ethiopian trade and naval operations. With regards to the Ethiopian trade, Port Djibouti acts as the main access point for most of the cargo that is Ethiopian-bound since the country is landlocked. Besides, the port is a naval base for the Chinese Navy, French Navy, and the United States Navy.
Significance of the Gulf
Historically, the Gulf of Aden was known as a trading center which gathered traders from China, India, Egypt, and Rome. However, today, the Gulf of Aden acts as a primary navigation route for most of the oil transported from the Persian Gulf shipped to the Suez Canal. Some of the oil is also transported to refineries located within the location of the gulf.