US Navy against the virus. Mercy type hospital ships go to the rescue


USNS Comfort offshore Jamaica, October 2019


The United States Navy has two hospital vessels - USNS Mercy (T-AH-19) and USNS Comfort (T-AH-20) of the Mercy project (Mercy). They are capable of performing tasks of a sanitary and medical nature in situations of armed conflict or as part of humanitarian operations. The other day, it was decided to use these vessels in the fight against the ongoing epidemic of COVID-19.

The latest news


On March 17, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper announced the imminent deployment of hospital ships in US ports. He spoke about the beginning of the preparation of courts for the transition to the place of future work. The minister also revealed some features of the future deployment, the specifics and limitations of such activities.

The next day, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the USNS Comfort (T-AH-20) would soon arrive in New York Bay and join the fight against the current epidemic. The governor noted that a vessel with special potential will significantly improve the capabilities of local medicine.


USNS Mercy Floating Hospital San Diego, April 2006

On the same day, US President Donald Trump confirmed information about the imminent departure of a hospital ship to New York. According to him, the transition to the duty station will begin next week. A few days after this, "Comfort" will be able to receive the first patients and help the "land" doctors.

Soon, command plans for the USNS Mercy (T-AH-19) became known. The Minister of Defense indicated that he would be sent to one of the ports on the West Coast. The beginning of work in a new place is referred to the end of the month. However, the exact date and place of deployment has not yet been determined. This question is likely to be clarified over the next few days.

Deployment specifics


According to US media, the order of the president or defense minister is not enough to transfer hospital courts to new duty stations. Before going to deployment, various activities and procedures that take some time are required. In addition, with all its advantages, Mercy-class vessels have certain restrictions on activities.


Mercy crew during training events, May 2016

According to USNI News, the crews of the two vessels have already begun preparations for going to sea. Being in the port, the ship is in a state of reduced readiness; go to sea should be in full. In the absence of difficulties, preparing for the campaign and achieving the desired readiness takes approx. 5 days. After that, sending to the place of service is possible.

According to M. Esper, there are certain problems with the staff. To achieve full readiness of the court, it is necessary to understaff medical personnel who are attracted from civilian institutions or from the reserve. The Minister of Defense noted that he would not like to restore the readiness of floating hospitals by worsening the situation in conventional hospitals.

Another problem is the specialization of hospital courts. Due to their military purpose, they have developed capabilities for dealing with a variety of injuries. The vessel's capacity to fight infection is limited. It is expected that the Comfort crew will take on the usual tasks and unload the staff of conventional hospitals, which will continue to treat infectious diseases.

US Navy against the virus. Mercy type hospital ships go to the rescue

There are several operating rooms on board

Hospital ships are now preparing for deployment and will be able to go to duty stations no earlier than March 20. The transition and placement in a new place will take a few more days. There are some concerns about this. While New York and the unnamed West Coast city are waiting for the arrival of USNS Mercy (T-AH-19) and USNS Comfort (T-AH-20), the epidemiological situation may change significantly.

It is obvious that the positive effect of the presence and operation of the hospital ship will not manifest itself immediately. This can take days or weeks, depending on the circumstances, the efforts of doctors and other factors. It should be borne in mind that in the context of the fight against the new virus, hospital ships will only perform auxiliary functions.

The last of the challenges of future deployment is extremely limited quantitative capabilities. The US Navy has only two hospital ships, and therefore doctors from only two cities can count on the support of the military. The issue of hospital modernization fleet appeared a long time ago, but has not yet been resolved. Now the command can familiarize and evaluate the consequences of this.


The diagnostic department has two tomographs

Hospitals on the water


The future hospital ships Mercy and Comfort of the US Navy were laid down in 1974-75. and were originally built as tankers of the San Clemente project. Later, the construction goals changed, and fundamentally different equipment was installed on the hulls of the tankers. The first vessel USNS Mercy (T-AH-19) entered service in 1986, the second USNS Comfort (T-AH-20) a year later. The emergence of two new units made it possible to withdraw from the fleet the remaining Heaven-type vessels that have been in operation since World War II.

The USNS Mercy is based in San Diego and has Pacific and Indian Oceans. USNS Comfort operates in Norfolk, on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, with an appropriate area of ​​responsibility.

Mercy type vessels have a length of 272 m with a width of 32 m and a draft of 10 m. Displacement is 65-70 thousand tons. A twin-shaft steam turbine power plant with a capacity of 24,5 thousand hp is used, with which the vessel reaches a speed of 17 knots . The internal volumes of the hull and low superstructure accommodate premises for various purposes. On the roof of the superstructure there is a helipad.


The main volumes of the building and superstructure are given for the placement of chambers for various purposes with a total capacity of 1000 beds. 15 departments work, including a reception room, a laboratory, an operating unit, etc. The vessel has its own blood bank, two oxygen production facilities, a sterilization center, a morgue and a waste disposal department. In fact, every Mercy-type vessel in its functions corresponds to a full-fledged hospital.

In a state of reduced readiness, the crew of the vessel includes 70 people - 58 military personnel and 12 civilian specialists. The full staff of the ship is 61 civilians and 1214 military personnel. According to the standards, 5 days are given for the transition from one state to another.

Since entering service, Mercy-type vessels have repeatedly participated in military and humanitarian operations. For example, the ship "Comfort" has already worked in New York. After the attacks of 2001, it arrived in the city to strengthen local medical facilities. However, most often ships were involved abroad, mainly in the form of humanitarian assistance.


It should be noted that over the past years, USNS Mercy (T-AH-19) and USNS Comfort (T-AH-20) have been regularly criticized. They are distinguished by a sufficiently large age and low technical characteristics. Part of the airborne equipment is outdated, and there are also a number of other problems of various kinds. In this regard, from the beginning of the XNUMXs, the topic of creating new hospital courts has been regularly raised, but no real results have yet been obtained.

Fleet against the virus


Despite moral and physical obsolescence, two hospital ships of the Mercy type continue to serve as part of the US Navy and regularly participate in various events, mainly of a humanitarian nature. The next mission of this kind will start in a few days, and it will probably involve both ships.

Tasks for Comfort have already been identified - the ship will leave for New York to help local doctors. “Mercy” is also planned to be used in the fight against the current epidemic, but accurate data on it are not yet available. As a result, by early April, the entire US Navy medical fleet will be participating in the fight against COVID-19. How successful such a struggle will be - time will tell.
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  1. Bykov. 20 March 2020 06: 10 New
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    Such a trough, a rarity of the times of the war of independence.
    Something is alarming for the sick on this ship. It seems to me that they will collect the infected and even flood.
    1. Volga073 20 March 2020 06: 35 New
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      So it will be ..
    2. Greenwood April 27 2020 15: 01 New
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      Quote: Bulls.
      Such a trough, a rarity of the times of the war of independence.
      By the standards of Russia, it’s almost fresh. Most Russian ships are of the same, if not much more advanced age.
  2. tlauicol 20 March 2020 06: 36 New
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    where does that come from? where did they stand?
  3. rocket757 20 March 2020 07: 47 New
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    The latest news

    what is the latest news ??? it is just beginning, but how will it continue ??? nobody knows!
    1. Romario_Argo 23 March 2020 17: 08 New
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      funny wheelchairs in them in our hospitals and even more multifunctional
  4. Pavel57 20 March 2020 08: 04 New
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    In the case of civil unrest it may come in handy.
  5. rudolff 20 March 2020 08: 28 New
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    Curious, in what condition are our hospital ships now?
    1. IL-64 20 March 2020 08: 51 New
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      Do we have them?
      1. rudolff 20 March 2020 09: 04 New
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        Yes, still preserved. TOFovsky flashed in the news, they were going to repair. When the Union was in all fleets. Such white parades, handsome! And what kind of nurses were there ..!
        1. Aristarkh Lyudvigovich 20 March 2020 09: 20 New
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          Good morning rudolph hi The floating hospital of the Pacific Fleet Irtysh in December 2019 was in the dock. In 2017, the Irtysh came to the Vietnamese port of Kamran.
          1. NOMADE 20 March 2020 12: 19 New
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            On Monday, I saw Irtysh at the pier.
            1. Aristarkh Lyudvigovich 20 March 2020 12: 20 New
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              So docking completed.
        2. IL-64 20 March 2020 18: 11 New
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          Thank you, I did not know about such
      2. Aristarkh Lyudvigovich 20 March 2020 09: 21 New
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        Quote: IL-64
        Do we have them?

        The Navy currently has three ships of Project 320A - a hospital ship.
        1) GS "Yenisei" - is part of the CCF. Base - Sevastopol. In the 1990s, the ship was put into reserve. At the moment, the technical condition requires repair.
        2) GS "Svir" - is part of the KSF.
        3) GS "Irtysh" - part of the KTOF
        This series was built at the shipyard Stocznia Szczecinska them. Adolf Varsky (Poland, Szczecin).
        1. rudolff 20 March 2020 09: 31 New
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          Good morning, Aristarkh Ludwigovich! But the beauties are the same! I remember in the 80s in Kronstadt I saw how sailors from a nearby BOD on mooring lines for such a hospital climbed like a monkey. Youth, hormones ...
          lol
          1. Aristarkh Lyudvigovich 20 March 2020 09: 37 New
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            They have a beautiful silhouette good By the way, in Sevastopol, next to the "Yenisei" there was another "legacy of the Warsaw Pact" - the trophy BDK "Konstantin Olshansky". Now he and other Ukroflot ships were transferred to the Engineering Bay. Some sources claim that the entire group has been relocated to Donuzlav to suck, while others speak of a real transfer to Ukraine.
            1. rudolff 20 March 2020 09: 43 New
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              In the photo is not Sevastopol. This is Svir. North. In the background is probably a "loaf".
              1. Aristarkh Lyudvigovich 20 March 2020 09: 48 New
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                I know. Just Svir I added to the word silhouette. About Sevastopol. Yenisei and BDK Konstantin Olshansky stood nearby. As for the collection of ships, Artem Balabin writes https://balabin-1712.livejournal.com/32724.html

                1. rudolff 20 March 2020 09: 53 New
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                  It's time to decide on these ships. Of course, I would have appropriated BDK.
                  1. Aristarkh Lyudvigovich 20 March 2020 09: 56 New
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                    Ukrainian sailors like BDK diesel engines disabled. And will he have problems crossing the straits, because he is Ukrainian de jure?
                    1. rudolff 20 March 2020 10: 07 New
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                      There are legal delays. I think ours made a mistake here. We nationalized all property belonging to the state of Ukraine in the territory of Crimea. With the exception of military property and equipment. We also started the transfer, but at least we realized it later. All working equipment straight to the Donbass went against the militias. There was no need to flirt with them then. And now, yes, the question hung, it became hemorrhoids.
                      When the Turks had a season of love, it would be possible to drag the BDK in tugboats through the Bosphorus, and then look for fistulas.
                      1. Aristarkh Lyudvigovich 20 March 2020 10: 16 New
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                        As an option, the BDK can be carved into metal in Inkerman (there, by the way, the B-380 is waiting for cutting after overkill on pontoons). But it’s better to return this hemorrhoids to Ukrainians. By the way, with the border ships, the issue was partially resolved. The border patrol ship of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine BG-52 "Grigory Gnatenko" of project 12412 and the ship of project 205P - the Kerch "Bukovina" were destroyed during the exercises. In April 2017, during the exercises of the missile boats of the Black Sea Fleet, the Grigory Gnatenko PSKR was destroyed. Pska "Bukovina" was the second in line. He was destroyed a little later during the Black Sea Fleet exercises in October 2017. During the exercises, two Su-30SM Black Sea Fleet fighters from the Saki airfield struck it. After which he sank. It happened under Cape Opuk.
                      2. rudolff 20 March 2020 10: 22 New
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                        They can’t even really repair Sagaidachny. They won’t take it. But BDK is a pity.
                      3. Aristarkh Lyudvigovich 20 March 2020 10: 29 New
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                        The flagship Sagaidachny K-2 handed over after repair in early March. He shot from the AK-100 and AK-630M. Ukraine has its own production of gas turbines and gearboxes, and weapon parts and spare parts can always be bought through intermediaries. In theory, in addition to financial, there should not be any other problems in the restoration of the ship.
    2. IL-64 20 March 2020 18: 11 New
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      Thanks for the new information for me.
  • Simple 20 March 2020 13: 17 New
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    News in topic:

    https://www.t-online.de/nachrichten/ausland/id_87557756/coronavirus-in-den-usa-kalifornien-verhaengt-ausgangssperre-.html
  • Private-K 22 March 2020 09: 07 New
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    When in Japan they quarantined a cruise ship with thousands of people on board, 20 times more than it was originally infected due to the general ventilation system.
    How about this ventilated American hospital ship? Total? Then expect trouble.
  • tima_ga 22 March 2020 21: 56 New
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    And it’s a good idea to use them as floating "emergency room" to relieve the hospital from "fractures and dislocations" and let them concentrate on the infection ... Although, on a scale of 300 million of the country, this, of course, is a drop in the bucket.
  • Nemchinov Vl 23 March 2020 23: 07 New
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    I came across an interesting thought - “But then please explain the words of Pompeo, said shortly before the outbreak, (in my opinion, when he was in Minsk). Their meaning was this: believe me, we have something to answer China., And this will not be a military response but they will find out about him, and they will have so much of their worries and problems that they will forget about everything in the world. They will not be up to the sanction wars with the USA. And I assure you, it will be soon! " .... in one of the comments to the video, - https: //www.nature.com/news/engineered-bat-virus-stirs-debate-over-risky-research-1.18787 ....?! - From God's punishment, two hospital ships will not save America. !!!
  • IC
    IC 17 May 2020 02: 20 New
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    Comfort was under repair, which was minimized and arrived in New York 3 days later. He stood for a while and did not accept a single patient. When the panic subsided, he went back to base. Managed without him.