NORFOLK, Va. — The U.S. Navy's hospital ship, USNS Comfort, has left Naval Station Norfolk to begin a five-month deployment.
The ship and its crew will provide medical assistance in support of regional partners and in response to the regional impacts of the Venezuela political and economic crisis.
During its deployment, Comfort will make stops in Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Panama, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Trinidad and Tobago.
“This deployment responds directly to the man-made crisis Maduro’s regime has created,” said U.S. Navy Adm. Craig Faller, commander of U.S. Southern Command, which will oversee the deployment. “Comfort medical teams will be working alongside host nation medical professionals who are absorbing thousands of Venezuelan migrants and refugees. The Venezuelan people are desperately fleeing their homeland for hope of a better way of life. We are committed to finding ways to support the Venezuelan people and our regional partners who share the goal of seeing a legitimate, democratic government reinstated in Venezuela.”
Throughout the deployment, the U.S. military medical personnel aboard the Comfort will work alongside a variety of governmental agencies to provide medical assistance to communities based on needs identified by host-nation health ministries. It will help relieve pressure on host nation medical systems in countries who are hosting Venezuelans who have fled their country.
On the ship, there are medical and dental capabilities. Some of the services include basic medical evaluation and treatment, preventive medicine, dental screenings and treatment, optometry screenings, eyewear distribution, general surgery, ophthalmologic surgery, public health training, and additional specialties as required.
The ship’s crew size will be about 1,000 U.S. and partner nation military doctors, nurses, and technicians. A team of civil service mariners, who will oversee the ship’s operation and navigation, will operate Comfort.
This is USNS Comfort's seventh deployment to this region since 2007. This reflects the United States' promise of friendship, partnership, and solidarity with the people of the Americas.