Saudi Arabia joins maritime protection mission

File photo shows a Saudi Naval ship. Saudi Arabia joined on Wednesday the International Maritime Security Construct. — Reuters

RIYADH — Saudi Arabia has joined an international maritime mission to protect commercial shipping in the Strait of Hormuz and other areas, Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday, citing an official source in the Defense Ministry.

Saudi Arabia joined on Wednesday the International Maritime Security Construct — a US-led international alliance that aims to protect merchant ships and ensure freedom of maritime navigation, international trade and protect the interests of allied countries.

"The Kingdom’s decision to participate is based on its declared support for regional and international efforts to deter threats to maritime safety," SPA reported.

The Kingdom will work with its allies to ensure the security of energy routes and the continued flow of supplies to the global economy, and to maintain international peace and security, SPA added.

The US formed the coalition after attacks on oil tankers that were widely blamed on Iran, as well as to address Iran's seizure of tankers in the region.

Several international merchant vessels have been attacked in the Gulf this year in incidents that have rocked world commodities trading. Washington blames Iran, which denies the accusation.

The operation area for the International Maritime Security Construct covers the Strait of Hormuz, Bab Al-Mandab, the Sea of Oman and the Arabian Gulf, the report said. — SPA