USNS Mercy Arrives in Los Angeles

Mike Schuler
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March 27, 2020
The hospital ship USNS Mercy arrives at the Port of Los Angeles to assist area medical facilities during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in San Pedro, California, U.S., March 27, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Blake

The hospital ship USNS Mercy has arrived at the Port of Los Angeles bringing with it 1,000 hospital beds, 800 medical staff, emergency rooms and ICUs to provide relief for shore-based hospitals overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The USNS Mercy, operated by the U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command, departed Naval Base San Diego on Monday with over 800 Navy medical personnel and support staff and over 70 civil service mariners. 

The ship will serve as a referral hospital for non-COVID-19 patients.

Mercy’s medical treatment facility staff is made up of medical personnel from the Navy’s Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. The MSC mariners are responsible for operating and navigating the ship, including load and off-load mission cargo. 

The USNS Mercy was met at the Port of Los Angeles’ “Angels Gate” entrance at 0730 hours this morning by the FOSS maritime tugs Alta June, Bo Brusco, and Arthur Foss, along with Foss sister company AMNAV providing the tug Patricia Ann. The tugs escorted her to a security sweep location before finally assisting her into the Port of Los Angeles Berth 93, where she will remain for the foreseeable future. The vessel was declared “All Fast” to the dock at 0930 hours.

USNS Mercy’s arrival at the Port of Los Angeles comes only ten days after the Trump Administration indicated it would be deploy the two U.S. Navy hospital ships in support COVID-19 response efforts in the United States.

USNS Comfort is currently being readied in Virginia and is expected to depart Saturday for arrival in New York Harbor on Monday, President Trump said Thursday.

The two Mercy-class hospital ships are equipped with 1,000 hospital beds, 11 general operation suites, 15 patient wards and 80 intensive care beds, according to the Navy’s website. 

The Mercy-class ships’ mission is to provide an afloat, mobile, acute surgical medical facility to the U.S. military, as well as full hospital services to support U.S. disaster relief and humanitarian operations worldwide.

Mercy is a converted San Clemente-class supertanker that was delivered to the Navy’s Military Sealift Command Nov. 8, 1986. USNS Mercy has not been deployed in response to a natural disaster since the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that devastated places in South East Asia. 

USNS Comfort previously deployed with the Venezuelan refugee crisis in 2018, and for Atlantic hurricanes including Hurricane Maria and Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

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