Australia: Canberra to Support US-Led Maritime Mission in Strait of Hormuz

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia would provide a frigate a P8 maritime surveillance aircraft and support staff to the mission

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia would provide a frigate a P8 maritime surveillance aircraft and support staff to the mission

On June 13, two oil tankers, Japanese Kokuka Courageous and Norwegian Front Altair, were attacked near the Strait of Hormuz while in the Gulf of Oman, sustaining fire damage.

Australia's effort will aid the USA -launched the campaign, dubbed Operation Sentinel, which seeks to ensure ships can exercise freedom of navigation through the strategic strait without restraint by hostile forces, a point touched on by Mr. Morrison.

Australia is joining an global military campaign to help guard oil tankers from attacks in the Strait of Hormuz. "I just don't see that we have any spare capability right now to engage in that kind of a mission".

"Everything else is hypothetical beyond that point", Mark said.

"Australia's core interest in this mission is de-escalation", Reynolds said.

New Zealand has two Anzac -class frigates now in operation, the HMNZS Te Kaha and the HMNZS Te Mana.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Tuesday that Australia would make a "limited" contribution to the USA -led group, to protect oil and cargo ships in the Strait of Hormuz, between Oman and Iran.

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo requested Australia join the mission during a visit to Australia earlier this month.

The move is part of a joint worldwide effort to combat Iran's actions in the Strait of Hormuz.

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

Foreign Minister Winston Peters in July condemned the tanker seizures as an "inexcusable violation of worldwide law".

Morrison said the move is purely an economic decision and is not meant to escalate tensions against Iran.

On July 4, an Iranian tanker was seized in Gibraltar, a British territory.

Iran has claimed it came to assistance of the MT Riah after it experienced mechanical problems. The American sanctions are aimed at pressuring Iran to return to negotiations after the USA pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, believing the flawed deal enabled Iran to develop nuclear weapons when the sunset clauses expire, while continuing at an even higher level its risky ballistic missile program and aggressive support for regional and global terrorism, including its funding and arming of Hezbollah and Hamas.

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