Bahrain and Australia have said they will join coalition to protect shipping in the Gulf and Strait of Hormuz
Two more countries have joined the Royal Navy in an international coalition to protect shipping in the Gulf from harassment, ship seizures – and alleged mine attacks – by Iran.
So far, only Britain had agreed to join the US-led mission – with other European countries declining involvement, in case doing so harmed European efforts to rescue the 2015 treaty with Iran over its nuclear program which President Donal Trump pulled the US from.
However both Bahrain and Australia are now reported to have signed up to join efforts to protect shipping in the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.
Australian news site The Age Reports that “Australia has accepted an invitation from the United States to join a coalition of countries protecting oil tankers and cargo ships from attack by Iran in the Strait of Hormuz”.
However, Prime Minister Scott Morrison stressed Australia’s involvement will be “modest, meaningful and time limited.
“This destabilising behavior is a threat to Australia’s interest in the religion,”Mr Morrison said on Wednesday morning.
“The government has decided that it is in Australia’s national interest to work with our international partners to contribute. Our contribution will be limited in scope and it will be time bound.”
The official Bahrain News Agency (BNA) reported that Bahrain’s King Hamad voiced his country’s appreciation of the “US role in supporting regional security and stability” during a meeting with US Central Command (CENTCOM) chief General Kenneth McKenzie.
“The king confirmed the kingdom of Bahrain’s participation in the joint effort to preserve the safety of international maritime navigation and secure international corridors for trade and energy,” BNA reported.
“The BNA did not clarify whether Bahrain would join the coalition per se, or what its contribution would be,” reports the Times of Israel.
Bahrain has a naval base which is home to the US fifth Fleet, and the K’s Royal Navy opened a new naval support facility at Mina Salman port in Bahrain in 2018.
A Royal Navy spokesperson said: “The facility will play a central role in the UK’s ability to operate in the region, and it will be the hub of the Royal Navy’s operations in the Gulf, Red Sea and Indian Ocean.”
Speaking at the time, then defense secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Our armed forces are the face of Global Britain and our presence in Bahrain will play a vital role in keeping Britain safe as well as underpinning security in the Gulf.”
“Britain is a major player on the world stage and this new Naval Support Facility will help us tackle the growing threats to our nation wherever they are across the globe.”
Yesterday, it was revealed that a Plymouth based Royal Navy frigate has protected five million tonnes of shipping from Iranian aggression during the ongoing crisis in the Gulf.
Plymouth-based Type 23 Frigate HMS Montrose has been tasked with ensuring the security of sea freight passing through the Strait of Hormuz – which has been dubbed Choke point Charlie – since tensions with Iran escalated.
At end of her last 28 day patrol earlier this month, HMS Montrose’s Commanding Officer, Cdr William King, revealed he and his crew had done 23 transits through the Strait – almost one every day – and were experiencing continued harassment from Iranian forces.
Iran has seized three tankers in Gulf waters since last month, including a British-flagged vessel. This came after Royal Marines from Plymouth helped impound a tanker carrying Iranian oil off the British overseas territory of Gibraltar on July 4. The UK acted after receiving intelligence from the US claiming the tanker was destined for Syria in defiance of European Union sanctions, which Iran denies.
The US and its Gulf allies have also accused the Islamic Republic of carrying out several attacks on ships in the region, which Tehran denies.
Read the main article from Plymouth