The UK sent a Royal Fleet Auxiliary supply ship loaded with aid to help with the relief operation in Haiti, International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander has announced.
The ship, RFA Largs Bay, was despatched at the request of the United Nations and sailed from the UK carrying relief supplies that will be needed by the people of Haiti in the weeks and months ahead.
The ship will have the capacity to carry supplies provided by the Department for International Development and British and international NGOs (non-governmental organisations), as well as goods purchased with donations from the British public in response to the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal.
The ship, which is due to sail before the end of the month from Marchwood, Southampton, is expected to stay in the region for some weeks to help the UN ferry bulk supplies around small outlying ports in Haiti.
The UK Government has already promised $31.8m to help those affected by the earthquake.
Largs Bay has broad versatility and will be able to undertake a range of tasks from transporting stores to providing a sea base for UK personnel employed in the humanitarian relief effort. It is equipped with a Mexeflote raft - a powered raft that can be used to offload ships at anchor and bring stock and equipment into shore when there is no established port.
Largs Bay has a crew of around 40 Merchant Seaman and about 10 personnel from 17 Port and Maritime Royal Logistic Corps to operate the Mexefloat craft. A 12-man Operational Liaison and Reconnaissance Team will also deploy to Haiti tonight to assess what further military specialist requirements are needed.
An Operational Liaison and Reconnaissance Team is a military capability held at extremely high readiness to deploy. It is used to link into and liaise with those already deployed on the ground and to provide a military view of what else might be required to inform the development of options for further consideration.