USNS Mercy departs Los Angeles

Written by Nick Blenkey
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Mercy departing Los Angeles, May 15 [Photo: Foss Maritme]

Foss Maritime and sister company Amnav assisted the Military Sealift Command Hospital Ship USNS Mercy as she departed the Port of Los Angeles on the morning of May 15 for her home port of San Diego.

The new ASD-90 tug Jamie Ann, along with sister tugs Alta June, Bo Brusco, and Amnav tug Michele Sloan assisted the 900 foot vessel in her departure. This was the Jamie Ann’s first job since arriving at her new homeport in late April.

ASD-90 tug Jamie Ann, along with sister tugs Alta June, Bo Brusco, and Amnav tug Michele Sloan assisted the 900 foot vessel in her departure

“Foss is proud of the opportunity to assist this important vessel,” said Paul Hendriks, General Manager of the Foss Southern California Office, “and for the cooperative partnerships of local and federal leaders who have been diligently working together to guide us through this crisis.”

As the USNS Mercy departed, City of Los Angeles officials praised her crew and frontline staff for their part in combating the COVID-19 pandemic over the last seven weeks.

“We owe a debt of gratitude to the sailors and medical staff of the USNS Mercy for their selfless service,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “This crisis is far from over — and we will continue to work with our local, state, and federal partners to deliver resources that will save lives.”

Mercy spent nearly 50 days pierside at the Port of Los Angeles, serving as a referral hospital treating non-COVID-19 patients, and in effect as a “relief valve” for local hospitals as they were able to focus their efforts on COVID-19 cases. The ship will now take the necessary steps to return to a “Ready 5” status to be prepared for future tasking including COVID-19 or other humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts.

“The entire crew was invested in this mission and it showed, from the medical professionals who cared for patients in the ICUs and wards, to those who performed life-saving surgeries in the operating rooms, and to the support staff of every specialty, including those who made sure the patients and crew had good food to eat,” said Capt. John Rotruck, commanding officer of Mercy’s medical treatment facility. “Now as we return from this mission, I couldn’t be more proud of the work everyone did.”

Mercy supported the lead agency, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), under the Department of Defense’s Defense Support of Civil Authorities (DSCA) mission. The ship, which arrived in Los Angeles March 27, was tasked with providing care to non-COVID patients, bringing the first aboard March 29. While on mission, 77 patients were provided care ranging from basic medical/surgical care to critical care, to trauma. Additionally, the medical professionals on board conducted 36 surgeries, 77 X-ray exams, 26 CT scans and administered hundreds of ancillary studies ranging from routine labs to high-end x-rays and blood transfusion support.

While in Los Angeles, Mercy personnel worked closely with FEMA, state, and local public health authorities to help protect the health and safety of the American people.

Approximately 60 personnel assigned to Mercy’s medical treatment facility will continue to provide support at select skilled nursing facilities in support of FEMA, state and local healthcare providers.

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