Australian warship HMAS Newcastle transited the Sea of Oman through the Strait of Hormuz on August 16 at the end of her second month-long maritime security patrol since arriving in the Middle East in May, according to an Australian Navy release.
The warship travelled through the strait on her way to Bahrain, after completing a successful month of counter-terrorism operations in the Indian Ocean, Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea and counter-piracy operations in the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC).
Newcastle Principal Warfare Officer, Lt Alisha Withers said it was important to maintain a military presence in the Strait of Hormuz.
‚ÄúThe strong coalition military presence in the Strait reinforces our resolve, that we are dedicated to keeping this passage open and safe for international trade, she said. Gun crews were mustered to keep watch on the upper decks of the warship for the entire duration of the nine-hour passage, keeping an eye out for vessels and small ships that approach, something that can be common,‚Äù according Lt Alisha.
‚ÄúIt is not uncommon to be approached by small vessels armed with anything from small arms to machine guns. While these interactions are usually non-threatening, it is important that we present ourselves as a tough target,‚Äù she added.
‚ÄúThis posture we exhibit not only provides us with an immediate avenue to defend ourselves should the situation escalate, but also shows any potentially threatening vessels that we are not an easy target and shouldn’t be meddled with.‚Äù
After safely exiting the Strait of Hormuz, HMAS Newcastle continued on her way to the US Navy base in Bahrain ahead of resupply and further training with the US Navy. The Australian warship will complete two further maritime security patrols in conjunction with coalition forces before handing over duties to HMAS Melbourne in September.
HMAS Newcastle’s deployment is the 55th rotation of an Australian warship to the region since 1990. She is due to return to Sydney in October.