Pacific Partnership 2022 kicked off in Honiara, Solomon Islands, August 29.
Now in its 17th year, Pacific Partnership is the largest annual multinational humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Pacific. This is Pacific Partnership’s fifth time in the Solomon Islands, and Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) is conducting her first visit to the country.
“Today, we make history as we join hands in partnership and friendship to welcome and celebrate the inaugural visit by the U.S. Navy Hospital Ship Mercy to Solomon Islands under the Pacific Partnership 2022 program of cooperation,” said Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare during a public ceremony in Unity Square in the heart of Honiara.
A combined team of civil service mariners and uniformed military members make up the crew of Mercy, which can staff up to 1,200 medical personnel. The 1,000-bed hospital ship has all the capabilities found in modern hospitals, including those in the National Referral Hospital, where many PP22 activities will take place. The ship has 12 fully equipped operating rooms, 1,000 hospital beds, radiological services, a medical laboratory, a pharmacy, optometry facilities, a CT scanner and an oxygen-producing plant.
“Pacific Partnership participants, including colleagues from Japan and Australia, look forward to conducting medical knowledge exchanges and seeing patients together with our hosts, whether on board the ship or in clinics throughout Solomon Islands,” said Capt. Jeff Feinberg, Mercy’s commanding officer.
Military Sealift Command has two hospital ships in its fleet, Mercy and USNS Comfort (T-AH 20). These ships provide emergency on-site care for deployed U.S. forces around the globe.
They are also used to support other operations, such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions, when required.
“Military and civilian leaders agree about the necessity of collaboration to respond to disaster emergencies quickly and effectively,” said U.S. Navy Capt. Hank Kim, PP22 mission commander.
“Pacific Partnership focuses on military and civilian organizations working collectively to ensure the international community is better prepared to synchronize and function together when executing effective disaster response in the aftermath of a disaster emergency. This mission enhances multilateral cooperation through civil-military collaboration, medical exchanges, and interagency coordination with host and partner nations.”
PP22 events are coordinated with the host nation and are planned based on the requirements and requests of Solomon Islands. Engagements in Honiara and outlying islands will include medical care and exchanges, engineering projects, discussions on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and community outreach events, including band concerts and sporting events.
1,000 Hospital beds
1,200 Medical professionals onboard when staffed at capacity
80 Intensive care beds
12 Operating rooms
4 Radiology suites
1 Optometry laboratory
1 Physical therapy unit
1 Dental suite
1 Blood bank
1 Isolation ward
1 Medical laboratory
1 CT scanner
70 Crew members
275 Meters long (approximately 2.5 regulation soccer fields)