Ben Wallace has authorised a British warship to assist in the aftermath of the Beirut explosion as the UK Government pledged to send £5million in humanitarian aid to Lebanon.
The Defence Secretary confirmed that the Royal Navy will send HMS Enterprise, a survey vessel currently based in Cyprus, to help Beirut prepare to rebuild its port following the catastrophic blast which left thousands injured and more than 100 dead.
Mr Wallace added that the ship will assess the damage and support “the Lebanese government and people rebuild this vital piece of national infrastructure”.
The Daily Telegraph understands that HMS Enterprise, which carries survey launches to conduct in-shore work, will not deploy immediately.
“The main aim of sending her is to survey the harbour,” a naval source said.
Once in Beirut she will deploy the launches, which are small boats designed to conduct in-shore survey work, in order to assess the shallow waters.
“There will be debris everywhere,” the source added. “She will assist in reopening the port and helping in the medium to long term, such as importing goods via sea freight.”
It comes as Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab promised a £5 million direct support package for the country.
Mr Raab said he had spoken to Lebanon's Prime Minister, Hassan Diab, and pledged to "stand by the Lebanese people in their time of need".
The Foreign Secretary said the support would include "search and rescue, humanitarian assistance up to £5 million, as well as expert medical support".
It is understood while British Army personnel have not yet been called upon to assist it remains a possibility.
The Foreign Office confirmed that the UK has also offered enhanced support to the Lebanese Armed Forces, including tailored medical help, strategic air transport assistance, and engineering and communications support.
International Development Secretary, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, said: “We have all been shocked by the scenes of devastation and suffering in Beirut. My heart goes out to all those who have been affected by this tragedy and who have lost loved ones.
“The UK stands ready to support the people of Lebanon in their time of need and has offered to send medics and rescue workers to treat those who have been injured.”