Australia to join Strait of Hormuz coalition

Cheryl Sanders
August 21, 2019

Citing recent incidents involving shipping, he said: "This destabilizing behavior is a threat to Australia's interests in the region".

"The government has decided it's in Australia's national interests to work with our worldwide partners to contribute to an global maritime security mission in the Middle East", he told reporters at Parliament House on Wednesday.

Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said Australian military staff would in coming weeks join the security operation's headquarters in Bahrain, which announced its involvement in the operation on Tuesday.

Morrison said Australia will send a P-8A Poseidon surveillance plane to the Middle East for one month before the end of 2019, while an Australian frigate will be deployed in January 2020 for six months.

Australian forces will make a "modest, meaningful and time-limited" contribution to a United States-led mission in the Strait of Hormuz aimed at protecting freedom of navigation in the Gulf region. "Freedom of navigation through worldwide waters is a fundamental right of all states under global law", the statement continued.

Canberra has said that it will send a warship, surveillance aircraft, and defense forces personnel to join the coalition.

Australia becomes the third country to join the coalition after Britain and Bahrain.

However, the prime minister made it clear the mission could be extended. "It is in Australia's interest to work with worldwide partners to uphold these rights", Morrison said. Pompeo today warned Iran that anyone who "touches", supports or allows an Iranian tanker carrying crude oil to dock will risk U.S. sanctions. Iran, who denied the ship was bound for Syria but would not disclose its destination, then seized a British tanker in the Strait of Hormuz for alleged marine violations.

Global commodity trading has been rocked in recent months by the seizure of the British tanker and a series of attacks on worldwide merchant vessels that the USA and Britain have blamed on Iran, though it denies involvement.

On July 4, an Iranian tanker was seized in Gibraltar, a British territory. Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom backed the USA claim.

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