US Navy deploying hospital ship to Venezuela

The US announced it would send its hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) to the Caribbean, Central America and South America in response to the regional impacts of political and economic crises in Venezuela.

The ship is scheduled to deploy in June from Naval Station Norfolk and will operate in the region to help countries better support Venezuelan refugees who are fleeing the South American country.

During a five-month humanitarian mission, US military medical personnel will work alongside partners to provide medical assistance to communities based on needs identified by host-nation health ministries, and help relieve pressure on host nation medical systems.

Countries hosting the USNS COMFORT during the mission will be announced at a later time, the navy said.

“US Southern Command is committed to the region in support of our Caribbean and Latin American partners, as well as displaced Venezuelans who continue to flee the brutal oppression of the former Maduro regime and its interlocking, man-made political, economic and humanitarian crises,” said US Navy Adm. Craig Faller, commander of US Southern Command, which will oversee the deployment.

This marks the hospital ship’s seventh deployment to the region since 2007, second deployment to the Western Hemisphere in the last six months, and reflects the United States’ enduring promise of friendship, partnership, and solidarity with the Americas and the people of Venezuela.

USNS Comfort deployed on an almost identical mission in August last year, returning to Norfolk in December.

Photo: USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) anchored off the coast of Hondura in December 2018. Photo: US Navy