Sea Platforms

Chinese navy expands HADR footprint with medical mission in Caribbean

24 October 2018

Daishandao (‘Peace Ark’) sailing off the coast of China. Source: STR/AFP/Getty Images

Key Points

  • A hospital ship is marking the first-ever visit by the People's Liberation Army Navy to Antigua and Barbuda
  • The visit will further expand the service's operational footprint and presence in the Caribbean region

The People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has expanded its operational humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) footprint in the Caribbean region by conducting a first-ever port of call in Antigua and Barbuda.

This milestone was achieved when the 14,200-tonne Type 920 (Anwei)-class hospital ship Daishandao ('Peace Ark', 866) arrived at the country's capital of St John's on 22 October with a delegation of more than 250 PLA personnel, including 120 medical staff across 18 clinical departments.

The port call is being conducted as part of 'Harmonious Mission' 2018, a multicountry medical exercise that has been conducted by the PLA since 2010. During its eight-day stay in Antigua and Barbuda, Daishandao and its crew will provide medical services and carry out minor surgery on the ship, as well as dispatch medical teams to disability centres on the island of Barbuda via a medevac helicopter.

Daishandao was commissioned by the PLAN is December 2008, and has an overall length of 178 m, an overall beam of 24 km, and a hull draught of 6.8 m. Powered by two diesel engines driving two shafts, the ship can attain a top speed of 20 kt and cover a standard range of 10,000 n miles at 14 kt.

The vessel is equipped with eight operating theatres and more than 300 hospital beds. It also features a flight deck and hangar, and can embark the Chengdu Aircraft Industry Group (CAIG) Z-8JH medevac helicopter. This aircraft can carry up to 39 seated passengers or up to 15 casualties and a medical attendant when flown in ambulance configuration.

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