The US Navy will deploy its hospital ship USNS Mercy to take part in Pacific Partnership 2010 in the western Pacific and south-east Asia beginning on 1 May.

Pacific Partnership 2010 is the fifth in a series of annual US Pacific Fleet humanitarian and civic assistance endeavours, and is intended to reinforce regional relationships with host and partner nations.

During the deployment, USNS Mercy will visit Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia and Timor-Leste. Two additional visits will be made in Palau and Papua New Guinea via other navy and partner nation ships.

The medical treatment facility or hospital includes multiple operating rooms, sophisticated X-ray capabilities, and more than 500 volunteer and military staff.

USNS Mercy is one of two hospital ships with a crew of 66 working under the navy’s Military Sealift Command.

The deployment will run until September 2010, enhancing relationships through medical and engineering outreach projects that strengthen the mutual supporting roles of participants.