The Arabian Sea is a northwestern part of the Indian Ocean.
It is bounded on the north by Pakistan, Iran, and the Gulf of Oman, on the west by the Gulf of Aden, Guardafui Channel and the Arabian Peninsula, on the southeast by the Laccadive Sea, on the southwest by the Somali Sea, and on the east by India.
The Arabian Sea’s surface area is about 3,862,000 square kilometers (1,491,130 square miles).
The maximum width of the sea is approximately 2,400 kilometers (1,490 miles).
The Arabian Sea is distinguished by its remarkably deep water level that is often maintained close to land masses. Its maximum depth is 4,652 metres (15,262 feet).
There are several islands in the Arabian Sea, with the most important ones being Lakshadweep Islands (India), Socotra (Yemen), Masirah (Oman) and Astola Island (Pakistan).
The Gulf of Aden in the west connects the Arabian Sea to the Red Sea through the strait of Bab-el-Mandeb, and the Gulf of Oman is in the northwest, connecting it to the Persian Gulf.
The Indus and the Narmada rivers are the principal waterways draining into the sea.
The Arabian Sea has been an important marine trade route since the era of the coastal sailing vessels from possibly as early as the 3rd millennium BC, certainly the late 2nd millennium BC through the later days known as the Age of Sail.
In Roman times its name was Mare Erythraeum (Erythraean Sea).
By the time of Julius Caesar, several well-established combined land-sea trade routes depended upon water transport through the sea around the rough inland terrain features to its north.
The Arabian Sea reached a historical heyday in the ninth century AD, when Arab and Persian seamen began to use the sea as a means of communication with neighboring communities. By mastering the wind currents of the sea, seafarers were able to accurately navigate to southern Arabia, East Africa, and a variety of Red Sea ports. Written documentation exists that gave detailed instructions for sailing on the Arabian Sea, and the routes that had to be followed to arrive successfully at a desired location. These instructions, called rahmangs “book of routes,” are a valuable source for analyzing marine knowledge prior to modern times.
While the Arabian Sea played an historic role in trade, it continues to be a vital area for international shipping today. The Arabian Sea became a major player in the international shipping scene with the construction of the Suez Canal in 1869. While the Suez Canal does not directly enter into the Arabian Sea, its construction allowed for greater marine trade in the area.
The Arabian Sea is considered to be one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, primarily due to its proximity to the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. Most of the ships that use the Arabian Sea for transportation purposes are large tankers, whose travels often conclude in East Asia, Europe or The Americas.
The Port of Karachi, Pakistan’s largest and busiest seaport lies on the coast of the sea. It is located between the Karachi towns of Kiamari and Saddar.
The Arabian Sea is also notable for its large population of pelagic fish, or those fish which live near the surface of the water.
Extensive small-scale fishing is carried on in the Arabian Sea, particularly off the east coasts of Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and west coast of the Indian subcontinent. These operations employ dugout and outrigger canoes, dhows, and a variety of other small craft, as well as mechanized trawlers and purse seiners.