Royal Navy Dispatches Survey Ship to Help Reopen Port of Beirut

HMS Enterprise (Royal Navy file image)

Published Aug 7, 2020 4:38 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Royal Navy survey ship HMS Enterprise will soon get under way for Lebanon as part of a package of UK military support for Beirut's relief and reconstruction effort. 

The ship will call at the port of Beirut to assess the damage from Tuesday’s explosion and help return the port to normal operations. The deployment of Enterprise will complement a broader package of UK military and civilian support, including $6.5 million in aid. 

“At the request of the Lebanese Government I have authorised the sending of HMS Enterprise to help survey the Port of Beirut, assessing the damage and supporting Lebanon rebuild this vital piece of national infrastructure," said UK Defense Secretary Ben Wallace. “We have a close and enduring friendship with the Lebanese people, our military is ready to support them in their time of need.”

The Port of Beirut handles the majority of Lebanon's imports, and it was critically damaged by the explosion. A cache of 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate detonated adjacent to the port's grain silo on Tuesday evening, flattening the surrounding warehouses and damaging buildings up to six miles away. Over 150 have been confirmed dead and 5,000 are wounded, including more than 1,000 who required hospital treatment.

 HMS Enterprise is currently docked in Limassol, Cyprus and will travel the short distance to Beirut at an undetermined future date. The UK says that it is still working with Lebanese authorities to determine the "optimum time" for the ship’s deployment. In most disaster response scenarios, harbor survey work begins immediately in order to speed the resumption of the cargo operations vital to relief and reconstruction.