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Australia Follows Britain and Bahrain's Footsteps in Joining US-led Maritime Coalition

2019-08-22 - 7:37 p

Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): Australia has joined Britain and Bahrain in signing onto a U.S.-led maritime security mission to protect international shipping in the Strait of Hormuz amid tensions with Iran, the prime minister said Wednesday.

Australia will contribute troops, a surveillance plane and a Navy frigate to protect the shipping lanes from Iran, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

The "modest, meaningful and time-limited" contribution was in Australia's national and economic interests, he said. At least 15% of crude oil and up to 30% of refined oil destined for Australia transits through the Persian Gulf.

Morrison said the Australian warship will be redirected from an anti-piracy operation in the Middle East, while the troops will be based in the headquarters that are coordinating the U.S.-led maritime security mission.

The British Defense Ministry announced this month that Royal Navy vessels will work alongside the U.S. Navy to escort vessels through the busy strait off Iran's coast, which has become a flashpoint for tensions between Tehran and the West.

Bahrain announced on Monday that it will join a US-led maritime coalition to counter Iranian threats to freedom of navigation in the Arabian Gulf. Bahrain, which hosts the US Navy's 5th Fleet, is the first Arabian Gulf country to officially join the coalition.

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