Kharg Island (sometimes referred to as Khark Island) is located in the northeastern Persian Gulf, 16 miles (25 km) off the coast of Iran and 300 miles (483 km) north of the Strait of Hormuz. Once the world's largest offshore crude oil terminal and the principal sea terminal for Iranian oil, the Kharg Island facilities served as an important base for the Imperial Iranian Navy prior to 1979 and to the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy and Iranian Revolutionary Guard Naval Corps after 1979. Kharg Island had been home to Iran's massive hovercraft fleet, the site of exercises for hovercraft tactics, and the launching pad for the force that occupied Abu Musa and Tunbs Islands in the late 1970s.
The Kharg Island facilities were effectively out of commission in the fall of 1986. Heavy bombing of the Kharg Island facilities from 1982 through 1986 by the air forces of the government of Iraq during the Iran-Iraq War had all but destroyed most of the terminal facilities. Kharg Island was situated in the middle of the Darius Oilfield, also destroyed by the intensive bombing. Even with the damage Kharg Island continued to be an important base for IRGCN operations during the Tanker War, mostly because of its prime position at the head of the Persian Gulf.
Repair to all facilities had been very slow, even after the war ended in 1988, due to continued hostile intentions by the Iraqi Government and the Gulf War or 1990-1991. Kharg Island was repaired and remained operational through 2008. Its strategic and economic importance has seen the facilities not only repaired, but moves made to improve and expand.
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