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Howard Government To Send Troops To Persian Gulf

The Howard Government has announced that the HMAS Kanimbla is to be sent to the Persian Gulf to join HMAS Darwin and HMAS Anzac.

The ship will be farewelled from Garden Island, in Sydney Harbour, tomorrow.

The decision is certain to provoke criticism, coming just days before the United Nations Weapons Inspectors are due to submit a report on the results of their investigations in Iraq.

The troop commitment will be seen as pre-empting a parliamentary debate on Australia joining a US-led coalition against Saddam Hussein.

Text of a statement released by the Department of Defence today.

HMAS KANIMBLA is being deployed forward to the Persian Gulf as part of the Australian Defence Force’s contingency arrangements should military action become necessary to disarm Iraq.

Australia already has two frigates, HMA Ships ANZAC and DARWIN, deployed in the Gulf as part of international coalition against terrorism operations enforcing United Sanctions against Iraq.

KANIMBLA is an Amphibious Transport Ship capable of transporting troops, vehicles and landing craft and various military helicopters over long distances.

These ships are also capable of performing other tasks such as providing command, control, communications, intelligence and the electronic warfare needs of a deployable Joint Force Headquarters and for support of disaster relief operations.

KANIMBLA will deploy with a Sea King helicopter, Army landing craft, an Army air defence regiment from 16 Air Defence Regiment and a specialist explosive ordnance disposal team.

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Malcolm Farnsworth
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