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USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) hospital ship has departed from a naval base in San Diego to Los Angeles to support to the US’s response efforts to contain Covid-19.

USNS Mercy departed from its base carrying over 800 navy medical personnel and support staff, a medical treatment facility (MTF), and over 70 civil service mariners.

Acting as a referral hospital for non-Covid-19 patients currently admitted to shore-based hospitals, the vessel will provide general surgeries, critical care and ward care for adults.

Mercy Military Treatment Facility commanding officer captain John Rotruck said: “This global crisis demands whole-of-government response, and we are ready to support.

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“Mercy brings a team of medical professionals, medical equipment, and supplies, all of which will act, in essence, as a ‘relief valve’ for local civilian hospitals in Los Angeles so that local health professionals can better focus on Covid-19 cases.”

The presence of this ship will enable the shore-based hospitals to have extra beds, freeing up intensive care units (ICU) and ventilators for coronavirus patients.

The hospital ship is operated and navigated by civil service mariners, who also provide essential services to keep the MTF operational.

Rotruck added: “We will use our agility and responsiveness as an afloat medical treatment facility to do what the country asks, and bring relief where we are needed most.”

USNS Mercy provides a mobile, acute surgical medical facility to the US military and is adaptable to support expeditionary warfare.

Mercy also provides full hospital services to support US disaster relief and humanitarian operations worldwide.

Converted San Clemente-class supertanker, Mercy, is the first of two Mercy-class hospital ships delivered to the navy’s Military Sealift Command on 8 November, 1986.