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The ARABIAN SEA is a region of the northern Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
bounded on the north by Pakistan
Pakistan
and Iran
Iran
, on the west by northeastern Somalia and the Arabian Peninsula , and on the east by India
India
. Historically the sea has been known by other names including the Erythraean Sea
Sea
and the Persian Sea
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
Gulf of Aden
is in the southwest, connecting the Arabian Sea
Sea
to the Red Sea
Sea
through the strait of Bab-el-Mandeb , and the Gulf of Oman
Oman
is in the northwest, connecting it to the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
.

The Arabian Sea
Sea
has been crossed by important marine trade routes since the third or second millennium BCE. Major seaports include Jawaharlal Nehru Port in Mumbai
Mumbai
, the Port of Karachi and the Gwadar Port in Pakistan
Pakistan
and the Port of Salalah in Oman
Oman
. Other important ports include in India, Kandla Port , and Mormugao
Mormugao
in Goa
Goa
. The largest islands in the Arabian Sea
Sea
include Socotra (Yemen), Masirah Island
Island
(Oman), Astola Island
Astola Island
(Pakistan) and Andrott (India).

CONTENTS

* 1 Geography

* 1.1 Limits

* 2 Alternative names

* 3 Trade routes

* 3.1 Major ports

* 4 Islands * 5 See also * 6 Notes * 7 References * 8 External links

GEOGRAPHY

Arabian Sea
Sea
from space

The Arabian Sea's surface area is about 3,862,000 km2 (1,491,130 sq mi). The maximum width of the Sea
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
Sea
is the Indus River
Indus River
.

The Arabian Sea
Sea
has two important branches — the Gulf of Aden
Gulf of Aden
in the southwest, connecting with the Red Sea
Sea
through the strait of Bab-el-Mandeb ; and the Gulf of Oman
Oman
to the northwest, connecting with the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
. There are also the gulfs of Khambhat and Kutch 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
Sea
are Somalia
Somalia
, Yemen , Oman
Oman
, Pakistan
Pakistan
, India
India
and the Maldives
Maldives
. There are several large cities on the sea's coast including Mumbai
Mumbai
, Surat
Surat
, Karachi
Karachi
, Gwadar , Pasni , Ormara , Aden
Aden
, Muscat , Keti Bandar , Salalah , Duqm and Trivandrum
Trivandrum
. Ormara beach, west side of the city

LIMITS

International Hydrographic Organization defines the limits of the Arabian Sea
Sea
as follows:

_On the West._ The Eastern limit of the Gulf of Aden
Gulf of Aden
.

_On the North._ A line joining Ràs al Hadd , East point of Arabia (22°32'N) and Ràs Jiyùni (61°43'E) on the coast of Pakistan
Pakistan
.

_On the South._ A line running from the South extremity of Addu Atoll ( Maldives
Maldives
), to the Eastern extreme of Ràs Hafun (Africa, 10°26'N).

_On the East._ The Western limit of the Laccadive Sea
Sea
.

ALTERNATIVE NAMES

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

TRADE ROUTES

The Arabian Sea
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
Julius Caesar
, several well-established combined land-sea trade routes depended upon water transport through the Sea
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
Far East
or down river from Madhya Pradesh with transshipment via historic Bharuch (Bharakuccha), traversed past the inhospitable coast of today's Iran
Iran
then split around Hadhramaut
Hadhramaut
into two streams north into the Gulf of Aden
Gulf of Aden
and thence into the Levant
Levant
, or south into Alexandria
Alexandria
via Red Sea
Sea
ports such as Axum
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
Yemen
and Oman
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
Suez canal
, and another from the Red Sea
Sea
to the Nile River , both shallow works that were swallowed up by huge sand storms in antiquity. Later the kingdom of Axum
Axum
arose in Ethiopia
Ethiopia
to rule a mercantile empire rooted in the trade with Europe via Alexandria.

MAJOR PORTS

The Kochi Port located on the south-west coast of India
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.

Jawaharlal Nehru Port in Mumbai
Mumbai
is the largest port in the Arabian Sea, and the largest container port in India.

The Port of Karachi (Urdu: بندر گاہ كراچى, _Bandargāh-i Karācī_) is Pakistan
Pakistan
's largest and busiest seaport, handling about 60% of the nation's cargo (25 million tons per annum). It is located between the Karachi
Karachi
towns of Kiamari and Saddar , close to the main business district and several industrial areas. The geographic position of the port places it in close proximity to major shipping routes such as the Strait of Hormuz . The history of the port is intertwined with that of the city of Karachi. Several ancient ports have been attributed in the area including "Krokola", "Morontobara" (Woman's Harbour) (mentioned by Nearchus ), Barbarikon (the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea
Sea
, and Debal (a city invaded and captured by the Muslim general Muhammad bin Qasim in 712 AD). There is a reference to the early existence of the port of Karachi
Karachi
in the " Umdah
Umdah
", by the Arab
Arab
navigator Sulaiman al Mahri (AD 1511), who mentions "Ras al Karazi " and " Ras Karashi " while describing a route along the coast from Pasni to Ras Karashi.

Karachi
Karachi
is also mentioned in the sixteenth century Turkish treatise Mirat ul Memalik (Mirror of Countries, 1557) by the Ottoman captain Seydi Ali Reis , which is a compilation of sailing directions from the Portuguese island of Diu to Hormuz in the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
. It warns sailors about whirlpools and advises them to seek safety in "Kaurashi " harbour if they found themselves drifting dangerously.

The gate facing the sea was called "Kharadar" (salt gate), and the gate facing the Lyari River was called " Mithadar " (sweet gate). The modern neighbourhoods around the location of the gates are called Mithadar and Kharadar. Surrounded by mangrove swamps to the east, the sea to the southwest, and the Lyari River to the north, the town was well defended and engaged in a profitable trade with Muscat and Bahrain. 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
Sea

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

Port of Salalah in Salalah , Oman
Oman
is also a major port in the area. From a modest start in 1997, the Omani container transhipment port has achieved consistent growth. It is a key container transhipment hub on the Arabian Sea
Sea
and is often used as the first port of call for vessels whose crew have just been released from the clutches of Somali pirates following ransom payments for withheld vessels and crew. The port also plays host as a supply base for the visiting warships that provide protective escorts for merchant shipping in the sea lanes. From that dual role has emerged another, one as an intelligence network — both military and civilian — to exchange information on possible pirate sightings and near misses. Also, 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 in 2009

Major Indian ports in the Arabian Sea
Sea
are Mundra Port
Mundra Port
, Kandla Port , Nava Sheva , Kochi Port , Mumbai
Mumbai
Port , and Mormugão .

ISLANDS

There are several islands in the Arabian Sea, with the largest being Socotra ( Yemen
Yemen
), Masirah ( Oman
Oman
), Astola Island
Astola Island
( Pakistan
Pakistan
) and Andrott ( India
India
). Astola is a Pakistani island just off the coast of Balochistan, Pakistan
Pakistan

ASTOLA ISLAND, also known as _Jezira Haft Talar_ (Urdu : زروان ءِ ہفت تلار Balochi ‎) or ' Island
Island
of the Seven Hills', is a small, uninhabited island in the northern tip of the Arabian Sea
Sea
in Pakistan
Pakistan
's territorial waters. It is a popular eco-tourism destination in the region. Overnight tourists camp on the island and bring their own provisions. Camping, fishing and scuba-diving expeditions are popular. It is also a site for observing turtle breeding. Endangered animals such as the green turtle (_Chelonia mydas_) and the Hawksbill turtle
Hawksbill turtle
(_Eretmochelys imbracata_) nest on the beach at the foot of the cliffs. The island is also a very important area for endemic reptiles such as the Astola Viper (_Echis carinatus astolae_). Landsat view over Socotra , a Yemeni island.

SOCOTRA (Arabic : سُقُطْرَى‎‎ _Suquṭra_), 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 . The island is very isolated and through the process of speciation , a third of its plant life is found nowhere else on the planet. It has been described as the most alien-looking place on Earth.

MASIRAH (Arabic : مصيرة‎‎) is an island off the East coast of Oman
Oman
. The main industries here are fishing and traditional textile manufacturing. Formerly, traditional ship building was important. The rugged terrain of the island and surrounding rough coastline has led to the appearance of many wrecked dhows on the beaches of the island , most of them well preserved by the salt water and intense heat. The ocean bottom environment surrounding Masirah is hostile as the majority of the area is covered in either sand or hard rock. Despite the poor quality ocean bottom, the area is very productive with marine fisheries, and any hard objects (barrels, engines) are immediately colonized by local fauna.

SEE ALSO

* Erythraean Sea
Sea
* North Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
tropical cyclone * Piracy off the coast of Somalia
Somalia

NOTES

* ^ Arabian Sea, Encyclopædia Britannica * ^ "Limits of Oceans and Seas, 3rd edition" (PDF). International Hydrographic Organization. 1953. Retrieved 7 February 2010. * ^ "The Voyage around the Erythraean Sea". _washington.edu_. * ^ "Kamat\'s Potpourri: The Arabian Sea". _kamat.com_. * ^ The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea:Travel and Trade in the