More than 300 foreign nationals were evacuated by sea from Lebanon on Tuesday (27 July).?
More than 300 foreign nationals were evacuated by sea from Lebanon on Tuesday (27 July). The evacuation was organised by the United Stated Embassy in Beirut and many of the evacuees were Americans.
SYNOPSIS: The assembly point for the operation was a waterfront hotel in west Beirut held by Palestinian commandos. Originally 500 foreigners registered for the evacuation, but about 200 failed to turn up. The seaborne operation replaced a planned road convoy to Damascus which was called off because of renewed fighting along the route.
Armed Palestinians guarded the embarkation area and checked the documents of evacuees and those watching the departure.. The operation was agreed after talks with the leaders of the various warring factions in the 16 moth old civil war.
The United States provided a landing craft from naval unties stationed off Beirut. It was the second seaborne evacuation organised by the Americans in just over a month. It went smoothly and there were no incidents.
The landing-craft was sent in by the U.S. Navy support ship, Coronado. It could only allow a small amount of baggage and many people were forced to leave all their possessions behind. President Ford in Washington kept in close touch with the evacuation operation.
The U.S. special envoy in Lebanon, Mr. Talcot Seeley was the last person to board the landing craft for the trip out to the Coronado and the 40 hour voyage to Athens. Conditions in Beirut have improved since the evacuation was planned, but the U.S.S Embassy was determined the operation should still go ahead because of the upsurge in fighting around the Lebanese capital.