US aircraft carrier transits Strait of Hormuz



This February 2005 US Navy file photo shows the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) during operations in the Indian Ocean. [AFP PHOTO/HO/US NAVY Timothy Smith]

US aircraft carrier strike group Abraham Lincoln sailed through the key Strait of Hormuz on Tuesday (November 19th) to show Washington's "commitment" to freedom of navigation, the Pentagon said, amid tensions with Tehran.

The movement of the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group through the strategic waterway separating Iran and the UAE towards the Gulf was scheduled, and unfolded without incident, the US Navy said in a statement.

The strait is a chokepoint for a third of the world's seaborne oil.

A Pentagon official who spoke on condition of anonymity said exchanges between US forces and Iran's coast guard were "safe and professional".

It was the first time a US aircraft carrier group went through the strait since Iran downed a US drone in June in the same area.

Also in June, two foreign tankers were attacked in the area. Those attacks were blamed on Iran, though it denied involvement.

The last time a US aircraft carrier transited the strait was in April, the Pentagon official said.

The Strait of Hormuz is particularly vulnerable because it is very narrow -- about 50 kilometres wide -- and not very deep.

Iran, which controls much of the oil shipping lanes through the Strait of Hormuz, regularly threatens to shut it down.

US forces have been escorting US-flagged vessels transiting through the region.

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