Yesterday, Foss Maritime tugs assisted the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy as it arrived at the Port of Los Angeles. The Mercy (T-AH 19) departed Naval Station San Diego Monday bound for Los Angeles in support of the nation’s coronavirus (Covid-19) response efforts.
The Foss tugs Alta June, Bo Brusco, and Arthur Foss, along with Foss sister company AMNAV's tug Patricia Ann, met the USNS Mercy at the port’s “Angels Gate” entrance. The tugs escorted her to a security sweep location before finally assisting her into the Port of Los Angeles Berth 93, where she will remain for the foreseeable future.
“Foss is proud and honored to assist this important vessel into port,” said Paul Hendriks, general manager of the Foss Southern California office said. “Leading the way was captains John Strunk, Ryan San Jose, Stan Sato and Drew Kerlee (AMNAV), who have a combined 85 years of experience providing safe operations in the harbor.”
Foss Maritime has a long history of service to U.S. government agencies in time of national crises.
“While we are happy to see the USNS Mercy docked at the port ready to serve, we hope her stay is a short one which would indicate that the medical crisis is subsiding and the shoreside medical community can care for those impacted by the Covid-19 virus” said Hendriks. “The medical assistance the USNS Mercy has provided to impoverished communities around the world for the past 45 years has been nothing but life changing for the tens of thousands of patients they’ve treated. She is truly a beacon of hope.”
The Mercy has over 800 Navy medical personnel and support staff with the afloat medical treatment facility (MTF), and over 70 civil service mariners. The ship will serve as a referral hospital for non-Covid-19 patients currently admitted to shore-based hospitals, and will provide a full spectrum of medical care to include general surgeries, critical care and ward care for adults. This will allow local health professionals to focus on treating coronavirus patients and for shore-based hospitals to use their intensive care units and ventilators for those patients.
Civil service mariners operate and navigate the ship, load and offload mission cargo, assist with repairs to mission equipment and provide essential services to keep the MTF up and running. Mercy’s MTF is an embarked crew of medical personnel from the Navy’s Bureau of Medicine and Surgery responsible for operating and maintaining one of the largest trauma facilities in the U.S.