Official Publication of the Philippine Information Agency Bicol Regional Office, in cooperation with the RIAC-REDIRAS - RDC Bicol

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

USNS Mercy arrives in Legazpi City

By  Julius Embile

LEGAZPI CITY, June 28 (PIA) - On the waking hours of June 27, residents of the coastal area here got the first glimpse of USNS Mercy (T-AH-19), one of the largest hospital ship in the world, as it anchored within Albay Gulf.

Though generally serviced by the US Navy, this goliath of a ship intends to provide humanitarian care mission to the people of the province of Albay.

The USNS Mercy, now anchored some two nautical miles off the coast of Legazpi City, is the central base of operations for the 2016 Pacific Partnership – a series of humanitarian endeavors by multi-national contingents from all over the world, in order to build capacity and cooperation among friendly nations.

One of the newest programs to be integrated in this year’s Pacific Partnership is the Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief (HADR) program. The ship’s call-to-port in Albay was chosen specifically with the province reputation as the country’s fore-runner in disaster preparedness and management.

The USNS Mercy is first of the two only Mercy-class hospital ships in the world, converted from a Saint Clemente-class supertanker. Since the ship was delivered the US Navy’s Military Sealift Command on December 19, 1986, USNS Mercy’s primary mission is to provide an afloat, mobile, acute surgical facility to the US military that is flexible, capable and uniquely adaptable to support expeditionary warfare.

The ship’s dock in Albay, however, is in compliance to their secondary purpose of providing full hospital services to support disaster relief and humanitarian operations worldwide.

The ship boasts an amazing 894 feet and 272 meters in length, a beam height 106 feet and 32 meters, and 33 feet and 10 meters long draft. Its full displacement weight is 69, 360 long tons. USNS Mercy can also reach a top speed of 17.5 knots.

Given its size, the hospital ship also has capacities of up to 1000 patient beds, four X-ray rooms, one CT scan unit, dental suite, angiography suite, optometry and lens laboratory, a blood bank that can store to 5,000 units of blood, and two oxygen producing plants.

The crew size of the USNS Mercy varies every expedition. For this year’s Pacific Partnership, the ship has 65 deployed civil service mariners and 1,215 deployed navy medical personnel, for the ships original personnel count alone. Putting to account the non-US personnel in participation of the Pacific Partnership, USNS Mercy now houses an estimate of 3,000 personnel.

With well-trained personnel and state of the art equipment, USNS Mercy is capable of catering to a wide array of medical services. These include on-board surgery, psychiatry, respiratory therapy angiography, dental prosthetics, lens fabrication, radiology, pharmacy, blood bank, dietary, burn treatment, medical equipment repair, and medical supply services.

According to the ship’s archives, the ship’s visit in Albay is not the first time it came in the Philippines. Back in 1987, USNS Mercy visited the country for the same purpose of providing humanitarian assistance. (MAL/JBE-PIA5/Albay)

- See more at: http://news.pia.gov.ph/article/view/3301467181530/usns-mercy-arrives-in-legazpi-city#sthash.9nkIfVrn.dpuf

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