The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy’s hospital ship Peace Ark has arrived at Freetown in Sierra Leone on Tuesday morning, Xinhua news agency reported.
The ship will be ported in Sierra Leone until September 26 where it will deliver free medical services to around 2,000 people.
In the years between 2010 and 2015, the Peace Ark paid visits to Asia, Africa, the Americas and Oceania.
Peace Ark has traversed 31 countries and more than 120,000 people have received free onboard medical and humanitarian services.
According to Task Group Commander Guan Bailin, this is the first time the ship has visited West Africa. He also reflected on the importance of the diplomatic relations between China and Sierra Leone, stating that their mission to offer free medical service to Sierra Leone is geared towards enhancing the cooperation between the two countries.
About Type 920 Hospital Ship:
The Type 920 Hospital Ship is a class of hospital ship in the People’s Liberation Army Navy of the People’s Republic of China. It consists of only one ship, 866 Daishan Dao. Daishan Dao is also known as Peace Ark (Heping Fangzhou) during peace time.
The ship, with a pennant number 866, is assigned to the East Sea Fleet and based out of Hubei.
The state of the art ship has been constructed in a bid to engage swiftly in humanitarian response to disasters around the world. The ship is 178 m in length, 24 m in width and displaces approximately 14,000 tons. It has a crew complement of 381.
The ship has 500 beds, 35 ICUs, 12 operating theatres, and the capacity to accommodate 60 major surgeries a day – about as many as a large hospital in Beijing. She has treated over 120,000 people across from the globe during her circumnavigation.
The ship is unarmed and painted white with red crosses to conform to the Geneva Convention criteria for a civilian hospital ship; firing upon it is potentially a war crime under international law.