Navy Hospital Ship Deploys to Southeast Asia to Provide Medical Aid

The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy / Getty

The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy has deployed to southeast Asia as part of the 13th Pacific Partnership mission to provide medical services to local populations.

The U.S. Navy vessel left her homeport in San Diego on Friday and will visit Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam through June "to provide medical, dental, veterinary, public health services, engineering, and disaster response to host countries who have invited the ship to visit and provide services to the local population," according to the Department of Defense.

Mercy will also visit Japan while heading back to San Diego.

Navy Rear Adm. Don Gabrielson, commander of Task Force 73, stressed the importance of the Pacific Partnership mission.

"Through Pacific Partnership we are deepening integral ties with our allies and partners across the Indo-Asia-Pacific region," Gabrielson said. "The challenges we face with natural and manmade disasters do not respect borders or national sovereignty."

"This dynamic mission enables many nations and subject matter experts to come together to pursue solutions to complex problems while enhancing preparations for disaster emergencies that reduce the severity of their impact," Gabrielson added. "The foundation of trust created through Pacific Partnership engagement helps foster a cooperative environment that encourages collaborative approaches to improving the lives and conditions for the people of this region and beyond."

Military and civilian personnel from Australia, Canada, France, Japan, Peru, Singapore, South Korea, and the United Kingdom will also take part in the mission.

The Pacific Partnership operations began as a result of the massive tsunami in December 2004 that devastated the region.

The USNS Mercy—along with her sister ship, the USNS Comfort—can provide virtually every form of medical assistance necessary to people around the globe.