USNS Mercy Returns Following Humanitarian Mission in SE Asia

press release
Friday, September 14, 2012
Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 20)

Seventy civil service mariners, and approximately 400 Navy, Army and non-governmental organization (NGO) personnel aboard Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 20) returned to San Diego Sept. 14.

 

They steamed more than 20,000 miles - nearly the distance of circling the equator - to Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia as the lead vessel for Pacific Partnership 2012 (PP12), in a nearly five-month humanitarian and civic assistance mission that resulted in medical treatment for nearly 50,000 people. Many of the ship's mission personnel - which total about 1,200 service members and civilians - have already returned home.

 

The 894-foot Mercy, one of two U.S. Navy hospital ships, is operated by the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command. MSC's civil service mariners were responsible for Mercy's operation and navigation. In addition, since the ship is too large for pierside visits, mariners operated small boats to transport patients and personnel between ship and shore.

 

Doctors and nurses from the ship's U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery-led medical treatment facility worked with medical professionals from numerous governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations and the host nations to provide medical care, including immunizations, general and specialty surgeries, dental care and vision services. At the invitation of the host nations, PP12 brought the expertise of U.S. service members and personnel from 13 partner nation militaries and 28 NGOs to build and strengthen relationships and work together to learn how to better collectively respond to natural disasters and crisis.

 

As part of the medical outreach effort, which took place both ashore and aboard the ship, Mercy's team treated more than 49,000 people ashore, including dental care and services like the distribution of eyeglasses and sunglasses. The team performed more than 900 shipboard surgeries, and treated or evaluated more than 7,000 livestock and domestic animals.

 

In addition, the Mercy team conducted more than 60,000 hours during 62 subject-matter expert exchanges in the four countries visited on topics including first aid, nursing, cardiology, orthopedics, nutrition, disaster response, water and food safety, and public health promotion.
 

U.S., Australian and host-nation engineers built or refurbished 13 buildings and the crew collectively participated in more than 100 community service projects to include the delivery of 244 pallets (more than 144,000 pounds) of donated supplies requested by host nations.

 

Pacific Partnership 2012 is a U.S. Pacific Fleet mission led by three different element commanders: civilian Capt. Jonathan Olmsted, Mercy's civil service master; Navy Capt. James Morgan, commander for the overall Pacific Partnership mission; and Navy Capt. Timothy Hinman, commander of the medical treatment facility responsible for providing care aboard Mercy and ashore.

 

"My most profound memory was watching six surgeries - all of which were performed in a 30-minute timeframe while we were anchored off the Philippines," said Olmsted, who has overall responsibility for Mercy's movement and the safety of its nearly 1,000 passengers. "We saw four children and two adults receive life-changing procedures including cataract transplants, tumor removals, and other corrective surgery. That's when it really hit me why PP12 is so important."

 

Supply utilityman Carmelita Kawasaki said that the mission's success is evident from the facial expressions of those receiving help. Kawasaki noticed this especially while volunteering her sleep hours to work at a public elementary school in Indonesia. "You can feel the gratitude and happiness in their hearts, and sense that we are very welcome in their place," she said.

 

Engine utilityman Darlene Mertz, who works in Mercy's vast, engineering spaces, cites a memory from Vietnam as her favorite from the trip.

 

"I was walking down a ship's passageway after a long and hot eight-hour watch in the engine room when I ran into a group of patients," said Mertz. "An elderly woman stopped me and asked, via her translator, what I do on the ship. I told her I work in the engine room keeping the boilers on so we have steam for the ship's propulsion and power for the hospital. She looked at me and said, 'thank you for being here.'"

 

Military Sealift Command operates approximately 110 noncombatant, civilian-crewed ships that replenish U.S. Navy ships, conduct specialized missions, strategically preposition combat cargo at sea around the world and move military equipment and supplies used by deployed U.S. forces.
 

Maritime Reporter June 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

Costa Concordia: Operations to Tow the Wreck Begin

Maneouvres began early on Wednesday to remove the rusty hulk of the Costa Concordia cruise liner from the Italian island where it struck rocks and capsized two years ago, killing 32 people.

Thai Resort Owners Sue State Owned Company for Oil Spill

Business owners on Koh Samet island are suing a state-owned petroleum enterprise for the oil spill that polluted the resort island's beaches last year. More than 50,

Bahrain US$35-M Land Reclamation Contract for GLDD

Provider of dredging services in the United States and a major provider of environmental & remediation services, Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corporation (GLDD) says

Navy

VIDEO: HMS Queen Elizabeth Floats Out

A timelapse video of HMS Queen Elizabeth floating out of her dock for the first time is now available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0ZjQz9vEKw. The float out of the 65,

Sunken WW II Ship Oil Leak Plugged

Atlantic Coast Marine Group, Inc. successfully responds to World War II era motor tanker leaking massive cargo of oil into the Atlantic Ocean's waters. Beaufort,

Maritime Reporter @ 75: The Daily Cartoon

Maritime Reporter & Engineering News was founded by John J. O'Malley (1905-1980) in 1939, and today ranks as the world's largest audited trade publication in the world serving the maritime industry,

Eye on the Navy

VIDEO: HMS Queen Elizabeth Floats Out

A timelapse video of HMS Queen Elizabeth floating out of her dock for the first time is now available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0ZjQz9vEKw. The float out of the 65,

Russia Doubts France Will Cancel Warships Sale

A senior Russian official said on Monday he doubted France would cancel its sale of warships to Russia, despite coming under pressure from other Western leaders

Cameron Questions France's Sale of Warships to Russia

British Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday questioned France's plan to sell Mistral helicopter carriers to Russia, saying fulfilling such an order would be

People in the News

Costa Concordia: Operations to Tow the Wreck Begin

Maneouvres began early on Wednesday to remove the rusty hulk of the Costa Concordia cruise liner from the Italian island where it struck rocks and capsized two years ago, killing 32 people.

SIA to Honor Honeywell's Gordon Hope

The Security Industry Association (SIA) says it has chosen Gordon Hope, general manager of Honeywell's AlarmNet communications network, as the 2014 recipient of the George R.

Sanjam Gupta helps Launch WISTA in Sri Lanka

Within two years of the launch in India in 2012, the Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association (better known as WISTA), Ms. Sanjam  Sahi  Gupta,

Government Update

Suicide Attack Escalates Libya Violence, Oil Output Slips

Crude output slips for first time since port deal; fresh clashes in Tripoli and Benghazi. Brega oil port seen open in few days. A twin suicide bombing at a Libyan

Ireland Ratifies the MLC

Ireland’s Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe TD and the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, today announced

OSRO: The Child of Necessity

Most people in the maritime industry in the United States are familiar with the concept of the Oil Spill Removal Organization (OSRO).  It is one of the many quiet

 
 
Maritime Contracts Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Pod Propulsion Port Authority Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.2311 sec (4 req/sec)