USNS Mercy, the lead ship of her class of hospital ships in the United States Navy arrived at the port of Trincomalee today (25 April 2018) as part of the ongoing annual multilateral Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HA/DR) preparedness mission - Pacific Partnership 2018. Sri Lanka Navy welcomed the 272.49m long and 32.2m wide vessel in compliance with naval traditions at the harbour premises.
Thereupon, the Commanding Officer of the ship, Commodore David Bretz met with the Commander Eastern Naval Area, Rear Admiral Niraja Attygalle and held a cordial discussion on the proceedings of the HA/DR preparedness mission. Mementoes were also exchanged to mark this occasion.
This annual maritime operation helps improve disaster response preparedness while enhancing partnerships with participating nations throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
The programme has been one of the engagements signed and agreed between the US and Sri Lanka Navies during the first USN-SLN Operational Dialogue which was held in 2016. Accordingly, the first ever Pacific Partnership mission in Sri Lanka was held at Hambantota in 2017.
Centred in the beautiful port city of Trincomalee, Pacific Partnership 2018 is scheduled to kick-start from 25 April to 09 May 2018 with the participation of military personnel and Non-governmental Organizations from USA, Australia, Peru, Canada and Japan.
During their stay in the country, the partner military and non-government personnel are expected to take part in this year's programme at schools, hospitals, community centers and focusing on common citizens in and around Trincomalee region. Meanwhile, a joint band performance is also expected to be presented by the US 7th Fleet Band partnering with the Sri Lanka Navy.
Sri Lanka Navy is the lead organization from Sri Lanka to coordinate this mission which includes Engineering Civil Action Programms (ENCAP), Medical Civil Action Programs (MEDCAP), Dental Civil Action Programs (DENCAP), Veterinary Engagements, Livestock Cooperative Health Engagements, Community Animal Sterilization and Vaccination Projects, Subject Matter Expert Exchanges (SMEE), Cooperative Health Engagements (CHE), Community Relations (COMREL) Projects and Band Performances along with Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) Table Top Exercise (TTX) and Field Training Exercises (FTX).