US carrier transits Strait of Hormuz amid tensions with Iran

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (AP) – The USS Nimitz aircraft carrier safely transited on Friday through the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s most important chokepoint for oil shipments, the United States (US) Navy said, as tensions with Iran continue to simmer.

In a “scheduled” manoeuver, the US sent the carrier and several other warships through the strait, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf, according to the US Navy’s Bahrain-based 5th fleet. The Nimitz, America’s oldest carrier in active service, carries some 5,000 sailors and Marines.

American aircraft carriers have for decades sailed through the international oil shipping route in what the US describes as “defensive” operations aimed at keeping the strait open.

The show of force follows months of escalating incidents in the crucial waterway, which led earlier this year to an American drone strike that killed a top Iranian general in Baghdad. Tehran responded to that strike by firing ballistic missiles that wounded dozens of American troops in Iraq.

The Nimitz’s arrival in the Middle East east saw Iran conduct a live-fire drill targetting a mockup aircraft carrier resembling it, underscoring the lingering threat of military conflict between the countries.