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South American navies continue hospital-ship construction, operations for riverine missions

South American nations continue to invest in hospital-ship construction and missions to bolster their riverine operations.

On 28 December the Peruvian shipyard SIMA laid in its Iquitos facilities the keels of Plataformas Itinerantes de Acción Social (PIAS) RíoUcayali I and PIAS RíoUcayali II, which will sail the Ucayali River and provide assistance to communities across 17 districts in Loreto and Ucayali regions.

In Brazil, construction continues at the shipbuilding company Estaleiro Bibi Eireli, which on 22 October commenced building in Manaus state, the hospital ship NAsH Anna Nery (U-170). The ship will measure 46.5 m in length and is scheduled to be delivered to the navy in August. When deployed as Brazil's most modern hospital ship, it will provide medical services to communities that live alongside rivers in Pará and Amapá states.

The PIAS vessels are scheduled to be ready for service by the first semester of 2024, according to Peruvian authorities, and construction will cost around USD8.3 million.

The Peruvian navy utilises a fleet of eight PIAS vessels. The fleet operates across several Peruvian rivers, including the Amazon, Putumayo, and Yavarí, while PIAS Lago Titicaca I is assigned to Lake Titicaca. The boat conducted its last social campaign of 2021 in September, assisting communities in three provinces in Puno region.

PIAS vessels not only offer medical services but also transport government personnel that provide citizens access to banking and social services, in addition to issuing identification documents. The first unit, Río Napo, was commissioned in 2013.

The navy utilises other support vessels for similar mission – BAP Curaray

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