Aug. 21 (UPI) -- Australia announced Wednesday that it will add military assets to help patrol the Strait of Hormuz.
A joint statement by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne and Defense Minister Linda Reynolds said Australia will deploy a P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft by the end of 2019, an Australian Frigate in January and provide the International Maritime Security Construct headquarters in Bahrain with defense personnel.
"The government has been concerned with incidents involving shipping in the Strait of Hormuz over the past few months," the statement said. "This destabilizing behavior 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," the statement continued.
Australia said its commitment will include 177 defense personnel on the warship and 10 on the surveillance aircraft.
Tensions in the region have heightened since the British military seized an Iranian oil supertanker on suspicion that it was violating European Union sanctions by delivering oil to Syria on July 4. Iran retaliated by capturing a British oil tanker on July 19.
Since then, Gibraltar officials released the Iranian tanker last week on the promise it would not travel to Syria.
Morrison refuted claims that the action would drag Australia into a conflict in the Middle East.
"The United States is pulling this together, but it's also the UK's view that this provides the opportunity for others to be involved in a multi-national engagement," Morrison said, adding that he talked with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday before the announcement.