Australia sending frigate, patrol plane to Hormuz shipping protection mission

The Australian government has decided to join the US-led mission to protect merchant shipping in the Strait of Hormuz in the wake of recent attacks on tankers and increased tensions with Iran.

Royal Navy file photo of an Anzac-class frigate

As outlined, Australia will deploy a P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft to the Middle East for one month before the end of 2019 while a navy frigate is expected to deploy in January 2020 for six months.

Additionally, ADF personnel will be deployed to the International Maritime Security Construct headquarters in Bahrain.

In joining the shipping protection mission, Australia is following the UK which is already active in the region. Other countries have expressed initial support for the mission but are yet to officially confirm contributions.

“This will be an enhancement of our existing and longstanding contribution to counter-piracy and counter-terrorism missions in the waters of the Middle East,” Australian prime minister Scott Morrison and foreign affairs minster Marise Payne said in a joint statement.

“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.”