As chair of the Defence Select Committee, Guido might have thought that Tobias Ellwood would have been more aware of the capabilities of the ship he reflexively suggested should be sent to Beirut to aid with the fallout from the blast. Ellwood suggested sending the UK’s ‘hospital ship’ RFA Argus. The problem? Argus is not a hospital ship, and it’s weeks away from Beirut…
UK RESPONSE TO LEBANON:
This is our hospital ship RFA ARGUS.
With Beirut hospitals overwhelmed (injured being treated in car parks) this asset should be part of our support offered to Lebanon. pic.twitter.com/ubOpQdw277
— Tobias Ellwood MP (@Tobias_Ellwood) August 5, 2020
What the Argus is is a Primary Casualty Receiving Ship. It holds just 100 beds. By comparison, a properly designated hospital ship like the US Navy’s USNS Comfort has 1,000 patient beds. The Geneva convention requires ‘hospital ships’ to be painted white with red crosses, and to not carry arms. As is obvious from the photograph, RFA Argus is grey and very armed.
What’s more, the Argus is at least fourteen days (assuming traveling at its maximum speed of 18 knots) away from Beirut, excluding time needed to embark stores and personnel. Added to this the ship is already earmarked for immediate disaster relief in event of hurricanes which are forecast to be severe again this season. Not the brightest suggestion from Ellwood…
mdi-account-multiple-outline Tobias Ellwood
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