Apr 26, Colombo: The United States and partner nation service members participating in Pacific Partnership 2018 arrived in Trincomalee aboard the U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) on Wednesday (April 25).
Sri Lanka Navy welcomed USNS Mercy, the lead ship of her class of hospital ships in the United States Navy in compliance with naval traditions at the Port of Trincomalee premises.
Commanding Officer of USNS Mercy, Captain David Bretz met with the Commander Eastern Naval Area, Rear Admiral Niraja Attygalle and held a discussion on the proceedings of the Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HA/DR) preparedness mission.
The annual maritime operation helps improve disaster response preparedness while enhancing partnerships with participating nations throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
According to the Sri Lanka Navy, the program has been one of the engagements signed and agreed between the US and Sri Lanka Navies during the first USN-SLN Operational Dialogue held in 2016. Accordingly, the first ever Pacific Partnership mission in Sri Lanka was held at Hambantota in 2017.
The mission in Trincomalee will continue through May 8 and will feature Pacific Partnership doctors and medical personnel working side-by-side with Sri Lankan medical professionals to exchange best practices, the U.S. Pacific Fleet said.
During their stay in the country, U.S. and partner nation service members along with their Sri Lankan counterparts will join in civil engineering projects humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) readiness seminars and public outreach engagements at schools, hospitals, community centers and focusing on public throughout the local community.
A joint band performance is also expected to be presented by the US 7th Fleet Band partnering with the Sri Lanka Navy.
"Through Pacific Partnership, we are building bonds of trust, friendship and partnership with the Sri Lankan people that will help us prepare together for a multitude of contingencies that our nations face with manmade and natural disasters. We are honored to be guests in this country and work beside our Sri Lankan counterparts," Captain Bretz has said.
Pacific Partnership is the largest annual multilateral disaster response preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Pacific. This year's mission includes military and civilian personnel from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, France, Peru and Japan.
After departing Sri Lanka, USNS Mercy will make mission stops in Vietnam and Japan strengthening alliances, partnerships, and multilateral cooperation throughout the Indo-Pacific region.
Pacific Partnership 2018 consists of more than 800 U.S. and partner nation military and civilian personnel working side-by-side with host nation counterparts to be better prepared for potential humanitarian aid and disaster response situations.