The French naval ship Tonnerre sailed Sunday, August 9 to 19 hours 15 minutes from Toulon, and must join Beirut by the 13 August, to help the population after the explosions in the harbor, in which more than 150 people dead and at least 5,000 wounded. In addition to its crew, the helicopter-carrying amphibious Navy carries several tons of cargo and about 700 soldiers, including 350 soldiers of the engineering specialist in the clearing, with their heavy gear.
Their help will be valuable to meet an urgent request expressed by the government of lebanon to Paris : returning to service as a part of the port of the lebanese capital and to allow the arrival of humanitarian means heavier, and the resumption of supplies.
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Of fire-fighting vehicles donated to the Lebanon
The Thunder will also provide evaluation capacity of the port environment, security of the maritime approaches and infrastructures or even of recognition, according to a press release of the ministry of the Armed forces Sunday. "Of the plunger-bomb disposal experts, as well as the personnel of the hydrographic and oceanographic service of the Navy are on board," explains Christine Ribbe, according to which " the mission has no fixed duration and will evolve : we know that we will have to adapt on the spot ". After the seven emergency missions carried out by transport aircraft of the air force in the days following the explosions, the Thunder thus ensures a "second wave" of support, according to the officer.
troops of the army, comprising soldiers of the engineer paratroopers of the French Foreign Legion and the alpine hunters, embark on board of the PHA Thunder for deployment in Lebanon. © Enzo LEMESLE / Picture Group Mediterranean / Department of DéfenseLe Thunder is gone with its shipping usual : a landing craft and fast two barges transporting materials, capable of back-and-forth between the floor of the ship and the coast, where port facilities do not allow us to accommodate a large boat. On the other hand, it has onboard two helicopters, so that it can store sixteen : a Caracal, being capable of performing transport missions, and an antique Alouette III, a device that is lightweight of the 1960s. Vehicles fire marine fire brigade of Marseille, have also been embedded, and will be donated to the lebanese State.
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With a small hospital aboard and capabilities of heavy lift transport by sea and by air, the helicopter-carrying amphibious class Mistral are regularly used for humanitarian missions, such as in the Caribbean after hurricane Irma in 2017, or for evacuations Covid between Corsica and the continent, in 2020. The Mistral had been deployed in Lebanon in 2006 as part of operation Baliste to evacuate thousands of French nationals and europeans during the israel-lebanon conflict.