Prime Minister Scott Morrison, alongside Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Defence Minister Linda Reynolds, has announced a renewed Australian commitment to freedom of navigation and maritime security operations in the Middle East.
The Morrison government is reaffirming its commitment to freedom of navigation and safe passage through the Persian Gulf by announcing it will support an international maritime security mission.
This mission will see the Australian Defence Force work alongside its international partners to assure the security of merchant vessels in the Strait of Hormuz.
Australia’s contribution will include the deployment of:
- a P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft to the Middle East for one month before the end of 2019;
- an Australian frigate in January 2020 for six months; and
- ADF personnel to the International Maritime Security Construct headquarters in Bahrain.
The joint media statement said, "The government has been concerned with incidents involving shipping in the Strait of Hormuz over the past few months. This destabilising behaviour is a threat to Australian interests in the region.
"We have been working closely with our allies and partners, particularly the United States and the United Kingdom, on this issue, which impacts global security and stability. Freedom of navigation through international waters is a fundamental right of all states under international law. All states have a right to expect safe passage of their maritime trade consistent with international law."
The statement said Australian forces will always conduct themselves in accordance with their international legal obligations.
This will be an enhancement of Australia's existing and longstanding contribution to counter-piracy and counter-terrorism missions in the waters of the Middle East.
"Our contribution will be modest, meaningful and time limited – and it will be part of an international mission. Australia will defend our interests wherever they may be under threat," the joint release said.
"Working with partners, we will play our part in shaping a better future for Australia and Australians, as well as our region and the world."