Fujairah's prominence as a convenient 'bunker stop' was born out of the Iran/Iraq war in the mid 1980's. The only ship's entrance to the Gulf, through the Straits of Hormuz, was mined and tankers were also targeted by Iranian fire. Passage became restricted to US and Royal Navy protected convoys. Fujairah is in the outer Gulf, and as vessels queued up waiting to go through the strait in convoys, Fujairah came into its own with services aimed towards the waiting ships. After the Iran/Iraq war, Fujairah was well established as a popular anchorage for tankers waiting for employment in the Gulf.
The Fujairah to Jebel Ali land link is the Navy's logistics pipeline to the Gulf should the Strait of Hormuz be closed.
The Fujairah bunker market incorporates the United Arab Emirates (UAE) ports of Khor Fakkan, Fujairah and the smaller and less known Kalba. Fujairah is situated between the two others, with Khor Fakkan to the north. These three ports, and more importantly their offshore sector in the Gulf of Oman, together constitute the Fujairah bunker market. The reason why three separate anchorages (Fujairah, Khor Fakkan and Kalba) are effectively part of one and the same market, is that the vast majority of bunkers in this area are delivered offshore in the Gulf of Oman. Fujairah itself seems to have outgrown its capacity and has been known to be a bit overcrowded, which has helped the anchorages of Kalba and Khor Fakkan gain popularity.
In Fujairah, a new $100 million naval base was out to tender by mid-1998, while studies were proceeding on a privately-backed ship repair yard at Dibba. As of January 1999 an announcement of a contract award was expected on the Fujairah naval base project.
Construction of Fujairah Sea Port started in 1978 and finished in 1980. Its total area is 1,300,000 sq. meters. It has three major docks, each 600 m. long and 12.5 m. deep. A fourth dock is 290 m. long and 7 m. deep. There is a fifth for loading ships with a belt, to bring stones from the mountains of Fujairah, where Fujairah Rock and Aggregate Co. is working. The whole area was distributed in an exemplary way to al- low for a stone for containers that takes 12,500, 20 ft. containers. There is a refrigerated one with voltages of 220 and 440 volts, in addition to an area of 170,000 sq.m. also prepared for storage.
Fujairah is located in the outer Gulf, just outside the Straits of Hormuz which are the gateway to the Arabian Gulf (the inner Gulf). Home to one of the world's most important oil regions, tankers constitute a majority of the bunker buyers in this market. Tankers are often anchored in the Gulf of Oman while waiting for employment in the Gulf, and the Fujairah bunker market is ideally situated for bunkering both inbound and outbound vessels.