USNS Comfort Docks in New York
The U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) arrived in New York Monday to support COVID-19 response efforts in the epicenter of America's coronavirus outbreak.
The ship will serve as a referral hospital for non-coronavirus patients currently admitted to shore-based hospitals, and will provide a full spectrum of medical care to include general surgeries, critical care and ward care for adults. This will allow local health professionals to focus on treating COVID-19 patients and for shore-based hospitals to use their Intensive Care Units and ventilators for those patients.
McAllister Towing provided the equipment and maritime expertise in safely docking the hospital ship. Docking Pilot Captain Robert Ellis was at the helm as the Comfort arrived in New York Harbor. Capt. Ellis had the power of four tugs in support to bring the 900-foot ship to Manhattan’s Cruise Terminal at Pier 90 in the Hudson River. The Z-drive tractor tugs Capt. Brian A. McAllister, Ava McAllister, Alex McAllister and Ellen MCcAllister provided over 21,000 horsepoer combined to guide the hospital ship to her berth.
“The USNS Comfort arrived in New York City this morning with more than 1,100 medical personnel who are ready to provide safe, high-quality health care to non-COVID patients,” said Capt. Patrick Amersbach, commanding officer of the USNS Comfort Military Treatment Facility.
Comfort’s primary mission is to provide an afloat, mobile, acute surgical medical facility to the U.S. military that is flexible, capable and uniquely adaptable to support expeditionary warfare. Comfort’s secondary mission is to provide full hospital services to support U.S. disaster relief and humanitarian operations worldwide.
“Like her sister ship, USNS Mercy (T-AH 19), which recently moored in Los Angeles, this great ship will support civil authorities by increasing medical capacity and collaboration for medical assistance,” said Rear Adm. John Mustin, vice commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command. “Not treating COVID-19 patients… but by acting as a relief valve for other urgent needs, freeing New York’s hospitals and medical professionals to focus on the pandemic.”
"This USNS Comfort team of Sailors, Marines and Civilian Mariners came together during the transit to New York City and our medical professionals are ready to begin receiving patients from local hospitals tomorrow,” said Capt. Joseph O’Brien, mission commander of Task Force New York City.
It's expected that the ship will begin receiving patients within 24 hours after arriving in New York City. All patient transfers will be coordinated with local hospitals, thus ensuring a consistent handoff of care between medical providers. Patients will not be accepted on a walk-on basis, and should not come to the pier with any expectation that they can receive care.
The U.S. Coast Guard is providing a security escort of USNS Comfort into New York Harbor.
“The last time that this great hospital ship was here was in the wake of 9-11, where she served as respite and comfort for our first responders working around the clock,” Mustin said. “Our message to New Yorkers – now your Navy has returned, and we are with you, committed in this fight.”