The hospital ship USNS Mercy off downtown San Diego. Navy photo
The hospital ship USNS Mercy off downtown San Diego. Navy photo

The San Diego-based hospital ship USNS Mercy arrived in Arawa on Bougainville Island in Papua New Guinea over the weekend for its second stop on a multi-national humanitarian mission.

The ship arrived with more than 900 personnel, including volunteers from eight non-governmental organizations and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

“In Papua New Guinea, we are providing medical and dental services, in collaboration with the host nation and at their invitation,” said Capt. Melanie Merrick, the commanding officer of the medical treatment facility on board the Mercy.

“We’re working alongside providers, including doctors and nurses in the hospitals and clinics. We’re able to do some subject matter exchanges with those providers and also with the administrators of those hospitals, as we bring repair technicians, laboratory and pharmacy capabilities as well … to help the country prepare in calm for potential crisis in the future.”

Now in its tenth year, the annual Pacific Partnership is the largest multilateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Asia-Pacific Region. Participating nations include the United States, Australia, Timor Leste, Japan, and New Zealand.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.