Thursday 16 Aug 2018 | 06:28 | SYDNEY
Thursday 16 Aug 2018 | 06:28 | SYDNEY

The band aid boat


Sam Roggeveen


25 June 2008 14:17 reports that the US Navy hospital ship, USNS Mercy, is anchored off Nha Trang, Vietnam, in what is the first US military humanitarian mission to that country since 1975. The Mercy (pictured) is quite an awesome sight, and along with the US Navy's aircraft carriers, the ship played a major role in relief operations following the Boxing Day tsunami, an aid effort that lifted America's image in Indonesia. Mercy has a sister ship, USNS Comfort.

With 1000 beds, 12 operating rooms, helicopters and water distillation plants, these ships are huge soft power assets, and it is of more than passing interest that China is now building a very similar class of vessels.

Photo by Flickr user SP8254, used under a Creative Commons license.