U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor ordered the activation Wednesday of the hospital ship USNS Mercy to be ready to support ongoing disaster relief efforts in the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.
The San Diego-based ship has been in a reduced operating status, a normal occurrence for a hospital ship, the Navy said. The activation order accelerates Mercy’s ability to attain full operating status to include moving necessary personnel and equipment to the ship.
If ordered to deploy, Mercy would get underway in the next several days and could arrive in the Philippines sometime in December, joining other U.S. Pacific Fleet units already providing assistance, the Navy said.
The collection of Navy ships, including the aircraft carrier USS George Washington and her escorts, will provide food and water, the capability to move relief supplies to isolated areas, and to help move the badly injured for medical care, Pacific Fleet said.
In 2012, Mercy participated in the annual Pacific Partnership mission, which included working with Philippine authorities in the vicinity of Tacloban, the area hardest hit by Typhoon Haiyan.