17 September 2011

PLA Daily Offers Latest Details on “Peace Ark” Hospital Ship’s 1st Medical Mission to Caribbean

Wang Zhenjiang and Dai Zongfeng; Cui Xinwen, editor; ‘Peace Ark’ Hospital Ship to Visit Latin America,” Liberation Army Daily, 16 September 2011.

The navy emblem is shining and the navy songs are loud and clear. All people of the “Peace Ark” hospital ship of the Navy of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) held an oath-taking and mobilization meeting at Zhoushan naval port at 09:00 on September 15. They are scheduled to sail on September 16 for visits to Cuba, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Costa Rica and carry out the “Harmonious Mission 2011” medical service task.

This is “Peace Ark” hospital ship’s second visit overseas following its “Harmonious Mission 2010” in the Gulf of Aden and five countries in Asia and Africa to execute medical service task. The hospital ship is expected to sail for 105 days, covering a total voyage of over 23,500 nautical miles. On the ship there are 416 officers and men, among which, 107 medical workers were selected from ten medical institutions of the whole navy, including the PLA Navy General Hospital, PLA 411 Hospital and PLA 413 Hospital, covering almost all kinds of medical professionals.

The primary mission of this hospital ship is to offer medical service to local people, officers and men of armed forces, and military and administrative personnel of the countries to be visited, and to carry out medical exchanges and cooperation with the navies of those countries. This is the first time for the hospital ship of the PLA Navy to come to the Caribbean area and visit the four countries in Latin America, and it is also the first military diplomatic activity between China and Costa Rica.

The officers and men of the “Peace Ark” hospital ship are in high spirit and morale. The ship is ready to sail after material replenishment, medicine and medical equipment loading, equipment inspection and repair, mobilization and specialized training.

For the significance of this unprecedented event, see “PLAN Hospital Ship ‘Peace Ark’ (‘和平方舟’号医院船) Embarks on 3-Month Navy Medical Service Mission in Caribbean.”

For background on Peace Ark and its first mission overseas, see “Chinese Hospital Ship ‘Peace Ark’ Sets Sail for Indian Ocean, Gulf of Aden, Africa to Provide Medical Assistance, Exchange.”

For the first public report that Peace Ark would be deployed to the Middle East and Africa in 2010, see Andrew Erickson and Gabe Collins, “Oversea Trumps Overland: China’s Oil Supply Future is Maritime,” China Signpost 洞察中国™, No. 1 (26 May 2010).

For more details on Beijing’s dispatching of the frigate Xuzhou to escort ships transporting Chinese citizens from Libya, see:

Gabe Collins and Andrew S. Erickson, “Implications of China’s Military Evacuation of Citizens from Libya,” Jamestown China Brief, 11.4 (10 March 2011): 8-10.

Gabe Collins and Andrew Erickson, “Missile Frigate Xuzhou Transits Suez Canal, to Arrive off Libya ~Wednesday 2 March: China’s first operational deployment to Mediterranean addresses Libya’s evolving security situation,” China SignPost™ (洞察中国), No. 26 (27 February 2011).

Gabe Collins and Andrew Erickson, “China Dispatches Warship to Protect Libya Evacuation Mission: Marks the PRC’s first use of frontline military assets to protect an evacuation mission,” China SignPost™ (洞察中国), No. 25 (24 February 2011).

For analysis of China’s ongoing counter-piracy deployment in the Gulf of Aden, see Andrew S. Erickson, “Chinese Sea Power in Action: the Counter-Piracy Mission in the Gulf of Aden and Beyond,” in Roy Kamphausen, David Lai, and Andrew Scobell, eds., The PLA at Home and Abroad: Assessing the Operational Capabilities of China’s Military (Carlisle, PA: U.S. Army War College and National Bureau of Asian Research, July 2010), 295-376.

For analysis and policy recommendations from American and Chinese experts concerning potential areas for Sino-American martime cooperation, see Andrew S. Erickson, Lyle J. Goldstein, and Nan Li, eds., China, the United States, and 21st Century Sea Power: Defining a Maritime Security Partnership (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2010).