Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Hurricane in the Gulf -- the Persian Gulf

CNN: Oman evacuated tens of thousands of people Wednesday and closed the major port of Sohar as a weakening Cyclone Gonu roared toward the Strait of Hormuz -- the world's major transport artery for Persian Gulf oil. Oil prices rose amid forecasts that the strongest storm to threaten the Arabian Peninsula in 60 years was barreling toward Iran….

A few ships were still sailing through the nearby Strait of Hormuz despite 4- to 6-foot swells and strong winds, according to Suresh Nair of the Gulf Agency Co. shipping firm. "The entire area is unsafe. Vessels that were bound to call here say they are diverting because of the storm," Nair said. "Some are still going through the strait."

Manouchehr Takin, an analyst at the Center for Global Energy Studies in London, said the real fear is that the loading of tankers might be delayed by the storm."About 17 to 21 million barrels a day of oil are coming out of the Persian Gulf. Even if only some of the tankers are delayed, that could reduce the supply of oil and increase prices," Takin said.

Maximum sustained winds of about 86 miles per hour were reported with gusts to nearly 104 miles per hour, regional weather services said….

…Even with the weaker wind speeds, Gonu is expected to be the strongest cyclone to hit the Arabian Peninsula since recordkeeping started in 1945. A cyclone is the term used for hurricanes in the Indian Ocean and Western Pacific.

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