THE USNS Mercy (T-AH 19), the US floating hospital has arrived in Honiara yesterday for the Pacific Partnership 2022 (PP2).
Jeff Feignberg, Mercy’s commanding officer is taking the ship on a health focus mission to the country.
“We are glad to bring Mercy back to Solomon Islands for Pacific Partnership, where we can work together, learn from one another, and strengthen our longstanding relationship,” he said.
“Pacific Partnership participants, including colleagues from Japan and Australia, look forward to conducting medical knowledge exchange and seeing patients together with our hosts, whether on board the ship or in clinics throughout Solomon Islands,”
A combined team of civil service mariners and uniformed military members make up the crew of the Mercy, which can staff up to 1,200 medical personnel. The 1, 000-bed hospital ship has all the capabilities found in modern hospitals, including those in the National Referral Hospital (NRH).
The ship has 12 fully equipped operation rooms, 1,000 hospital beds, and radiology services, a medical laboratory, a pharmacy, optometry facilities, a CT scanner and an oxygen-producing plant.
A statement from the US Embassy in Papua New said Military Sealift has two hospital ships in its fleet, Mercy (now in Honiara) and USNS Comfort (T-AH 20).
These ships provide emergency on-site care for deployed U.S forces around the globe.
They are also used to support other operations, such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions, when required.
Now in its 17th year, Pacific Partnership is the largest annual multinational humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Pacific.
“Military and civilian leaders agree about the necessity of collaboration to respond to disaster emergencies quickly and effectively,” said US Navy Capt.Hank Kim, PP22 mission.
“Pacific Partnership focuses on military and civilian organizations working collectively to ensure the international community is better prepared to synchronize and function together when executing effective disaster response in the aftermath of a disaster emergency. This mission enhances multilateral cooperation through civil-military collaboration, medical exchanges, and interagency coordination with host and partner nations.”
Pacific Partnership has a longstanding presence in Solomon Islands, having conducted missions here previously. This year, the PP22 team is comprised of representatives from Australia, Japan, and the United States. PP22 events are coordinated with the host nation and are planned based on the requirements and requests of Solomon Islands. Engagements in Honiara will include medical care and exchanges, engineering projects, discussions on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and community outreach events, including band concerts and sporting events.
Mission statement of Mercy is “Mercy’s mission is to provide rapid, flexible, and mobile acute health support services to our armed forces ashore and naval forces afloat, and to provide acute medical care in disaster or humanitarian relief.”
Some basic information of Mercy, it is 894 feet in Length, Beam 106 feet, draft 33 feet, displacement is 69,360 tons (full load), range 13,420 miles and speed with 17.5 knots.
While in Honiara PP22 bank will host a concert at Unity Square today at 5 pm, a general public is invited to attend it.
In addition to bank concerts, PP22 focus areas include Medical exchanges, Engineering projects, Outreach events in the community and Humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
By LACHLAN EDDIE