France Sending Amphib Tonnerre to Assist Lebanon After Explosion

August 11, 2020 4:37 PM
An American MV-22 Osprey from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 263 lands on French amphibious ship FS Tonnerre on June 28, 2019, during the Semper Thunder exercise at Camp Lejeune, N.C. USNI News photo.

France earlier this week dispatched one of its amphibious ships to assist Lebanon following a deadly explosion in Beirut.

France’s Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs announced on its website last week that landing helicopter dock FS Tonnerre (L9014) would depart for Lebanon on Sunday. The French Ministry of Armed Forces is also sending a cargo ship that was slated to leave Toulon, France.

“These resources will help to put in place support for healthcare, including through the Tonnerre’s on-board hospital, engineering teams and equipment, airborne resources, as well as the transport of 200 [tons] of flour, dairy products and baby products, 134 [tons] of food rations, 75,000 [liters] of potable water, and material for reconstruction,” the ministry wrote in a press release.

Tonnerre is a Mistral-class amphibious ship that has participated in training drills with U.S. Marines.

In addition to Tonnerre, the ministry said it sent multiple flights last week with relief supplies and personnel to help Lebanon with the destruction caused by the explosion. France also scheduled three flights bound for Lebanon over the weekend, according to the ministry.

“Medical aid amounts to more than 18 [tons] of medicine, hygiene kits, vaccines, and medical equipment. This aid gives capacity to care for more than 1,500 wounded,” the ministry said. “Food aid is made up of a shipment of more than 663 [tons] of products, rations, and food supplements. 20,000 [tons] of wheat and 20,000 [tons] of flour may also be sent in the coming days.”

French President Emmanuel Macron traveled to Lebanon last week after the Aug. 4 explosion in the capital city’s port. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, over 200 people have died from the blast.

The French amphibious ship earlier this year helped extract COVID-19 patients from Corsica and brought them to Marseille, France.

The U.K. Royal Navy last week announced plans to dispatch HMS Enterprise (H-88), a 3,700-ton survey vessel, to help Lebanon measure the destruction in its port. Enterprise docked in Beirut on Monday.

U.S. Central Command last week said it would send three C-17 cargo aircraft with relief provisions to Lebanon.

Mallory Shelbourne

Mallory Shelbourne

Mallory Shelbourne is a reporter for USNI News. She previously covered the Navy for Inside Defense and reported on politics for The Hill.
Follow @MalShelbourne

Get USNI News updates delivered to your inbox