U.S. Coast Guard cutters pass the hospital ship USNS Comfort as it is anchored off the coast of Port-Au-Prince, Haiti in preparation for a six-day medical mission, Nov. 4, 2019.
U.S. Coast Guard cutters pass hospital ship USNS Comfort as it is anchored off Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, in preparation for six-day medical mission. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Morgan K. Nall

The San Diego-built hospital ship USNS Comfort has arrived in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, for its last medical mission stop in Central America, South America and the Caribbean, the Navy said Thursday.

While in Port-au-Prince, U.S. service members and medical professionals will work alongside partner and host nation staff to provide medical assistance in communities with urgent health care needs and demonstrate the commitment to strengthen regional medical capacity.

Comfort was built as a San Clemente-class oil tanker in 1976 by NASSCO — National Steel and Shipbuilding Co. — under the original name SS Rose City, and delivered to the Navy in 1987. Her homeport became Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia in March 2013.

Her sister ship, the Mercy, also was built in San Diego and is homeported at Naval Base San Diego.

“We are pleased to welcome the USNS Comfort for its sixth visit to Haiti in the past decade,” said Michele Sison, U.S. ambassador to Haiti. “This visit underscores continued U.S. support for humanitarian assistance in Haiti, as well as our commitment to supporting disaster preparedness and resiliency in the region.”

Comfort’s team consists of more than 900 personnel, including medical specialists from the U.S. military, non-governmental organizations volunteers, and personnel from partner nations.

“I am humbled and proud to be a part of Comfort’s team,” said Lt. Cmdr. Gustavo Lores, a supervisor at the shore-based medical site. “We are committed to providing quality healthcare in order to increase partner capacity and regional collaboration for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, which is a high priority for the region.”

This marks the sixth Comfort visit to Haiti and the seventh to the region since 2007. The embarked medical teams will provide care aboard Comfort and at one shore-based medical site.

This mission stop is part of U.S. Southern Command’s Enduring Promise initiative and reflects the United States’ ongoing commitment to friendship, partnership, and solidarity with partner nations in the Caribbean, Central America and South America.

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