USNS Mercy, Brunswick cross deck with Canadian frigate in Asia Pacific

USNS Mercy (T-AH 19), HMCS Vancouver (FFH 331) and USNS Brunswick (T-EPF 6) sail in formation during the PASSEX. Photo: US Navy

US Military Sealift Command operated ships USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) and USNS Brunswick (T-EPF 6) met with the Royal Canadian Navy frigate HMCS Vancouver while underway in Asia Pacific, on May 15.

While it was not stated, the exercise likely took place in the South China Sea as hospital ship USNS Mercy departed Sri Lanka on May 10 en route to Vietnam and the Canadian frigate wrapped up a port call to Hong Kong earlier in the month.

The ships’s crews took part in a passing exercise honing their skills in complex maneuvering, logistics, and humanitarian relief operations.

Evolutions that took place during the exercise included transferring ten Canadian sailors to the hospital ship USNS Mercy via helicopter, where Mercy medical staff held a medical readiness team training exercise and exchanged knowledge with Canadian sailors.

Simultaneously, ten US service members from Mercy visited the Vancouver, where Canadian sailors demonstrated a damage control drill.

The exercise concluded with both countries sailors returning to their ships, where the three ships separated to continue on with their respective missions.

“This PASSEX was a unique opportunity for us to engage with one of our partner nations,” said Capt. David Bretz, mission commander, Pacific Partnership 2018. “I was very impressed with the skill and professionalism of the crew of the Vancouver and we are grateful for the opportunity to have shared this experience with them today.”

Mercy and Brunswick are participating in Pacific Partnership 2018 (PP18), the largest annual multinational humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR) preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Pacific. PP18’s objective is to enhance regional coordination in areas such as medical readiness and preparedness for man-made and natural disasters.

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