SHIPPING

Naval Hospital Ship Calls In To Refuel, Replenish Supplies

People’s Republic of China hos­pital ship He Ping Fang Zhou (866) has been at the Suva Port since New Year’s eve (Monday) to refuel and replenish her supplies. This was
02 Jan 2019 10:10
Naval Hospital Ship Calls In To Refuel, Replenish Supplies
Hospital ship He Ping Fang Zhou at Suva Wharf to refuel and replenish her supplies on January 1, 2019. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

People’s Republic of China hos­pital ship He Ping Fang Zhou (866) has been at the Suva Port since New Year’s eve (Monday) to refuel and replenish her supplies.

This was confirmed yesterday by the Chinese embassy third secre­tary, Yang Yinan.

“The hospital ship was on a mis­sion and has accomplished that mission,” Ms Yang said.

“The vessel is going back to China following the same route it had come through to get here,” she said.

According to Ms Yang He Ping Fang Zhou departs tomorrow.

“It has done its job while refueling and replenishing her supplies it is also an opportunity for its crew to have a break.”

He Ping Fang Zhou is one of the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s many hospital ships. It features the gross tonnage of 14,300, length by breadth extreme of 178 meters by 24m.

The vessel has the capacity to car­ry 200 crew members and 600 medi­cal personnel.

It is one of the few vessels to also carry a Z-8JH heli-ambulance.

The vessel was launched in Au­gust 2007 to carry out humantarian work.

China is one of a few nations with naval floating hospitals.

The Chinese rationale for the ship was to give China a platform to pro­vide a better means to providing quicker humanitarian response to disasters around the world, but others contend it also allows China to extend the navy’s blue water ca­pabilities.

The ship is assigned to the East Sea Fleet and based out of Hubei in Central China.

The ship features 500 beds, 35 ICUs, 12 operating theatres, and the capacity to accommodate 60 major surgeries a day – about as many as a large hospital in Beijing.

The ship is unarmed and painted white with red crosses to conform to the Geneva Convention criteria for a civilian hospital ship. Firing upon it, is potentially a war crime under international law.



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