Australia will be a part of the US in a coalition of nations protecting oil vessels and freight ships from threats posed by Iran in the Strait of Hormuz, Prime Minister Scott Morrison stated on Wednesday.
Global commodity trading has been slow in recent months after a series of Iranian strikes on an international merchant ship and the capture of a British tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow waterway via which almost a fifth of the world’s oil moves.
“This destabilizing conduct is a threat to Australia’s pursuits in the area,” Morrison told a press conference in Canberra.
Morrison said Australia would send a P-8A Poseidon surveillance airplane to the Middle East for one month before the end of 2019, while an Australian frigate will likely be deployed in Winter 2020 for six months.
Australia’s deployment will expand U.S-led efforts to secure the strait, which lies between Oman and Iran after strains heightened between Iran and the West.
The US, which has the strongest Western naval contingent in the Gulf, has been calling for its allies to join it in a task to protect shipping.
Nevertheless, European nations, which disagree with a U.S. decision to impose penalties on Iran, have been hesitant to sign up to a U.S.-led mission for fear of contributing to stress in the area.
U.S. President Donald Trump removed Washington in 2018 from an international accord to curb Iran’s nuclear dreams.
Canberra, although eager to avoid stoking tensions, was widely anticipated to join the U.S.-led oceanic alliance.
Australia is a strong ally of the USA, which in recent months has called on its partners to do more to defend world security.