British ship in Beirut surveying damage to help reopen port: UK Minister

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The UK has sent a surveying ship to Beirut's port to assess the damage caused by the massive August 4 explosion, confirmed Secretary of State for Defense Ben Wallace in an interview with Al Arabiya on Sunday.

The HMS Enterprise was reportedly the first ship to arrive in Beirut following the explosion that killed at least 181 people, injured thousands, and caused up to $15 billion worth of damage to the city.

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While the HMS Enterprise is part of Britain's royal navy and has engaged in anti-mine activities previously, Wallace clarified that the ship is in Lebanon in a non-military, surveying capacity.

"Our role isn’t a military role. The HMS Enterprise is a survey ship, and the damage to the harbor from that massive explosion requires us to help make sure that the harbor gets opens as soon as possible," he said.

Wallace also highlighted the importance of rebuilding Beirut's port to the Lebanese economy once surveying had been completed.

"As you know it is incredibly important to the Lebanese economy. HMS enterprise could come and do the survey of the bottom of the port. We also sent navy divers to make sure we helped Lebanon rebuild the port as soon as possible," he explained.

The port of Beirut was Lebanon's main commercial hub. While it is out of action, trade will likely have to go through the much smaller port in the northern city of Tripoli.

Read more:

Beirut explosion: Lebanese army discovers 4.35 tonnes of ammonium nitrate near port

Beirut explosion: Destroyed port used as quarantine center long before coronavirus

‘It’s a catastrophe, Lebanon is gone’: Survivors recount Beirut blasts

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