Indonesia has deployed a multipurpose hospital ship on its first ever overseas voyage.
The Indonesian navy (Tentera Nasional Indonesia – Angkatan Laut, or TNI-AL) deployed the multipurpose hospital ship KRI Dr Soeharso (990) on a week-long medical care mission to neighboring Timor-Leste over the weekend. Indonesia’s Eastern Fleet (KOARMATIM) Command spokesman Lt. Col. Maman Sulaeman said in a press statement that the trip was the first overseas mission carried out by the vessel.
“This health mission is the first carried out by KRI SHS-990 abroad in cooperation with the ministry of defense,” he said.
The ship arrived in the port of Dili on January 29 and will complete its mission on February 4. The ship, which has a crew of a few hundred medical mission personnel from all three branches of the Indonesian armed forces, is equipped a helicopter, five operation rooms, six polyclinics, and 51 specialists ready to serve more than 2,000 patients. The ship is prepared to provide a range of medical services including cataract removal and dental treatment.
Upon arrival in Timor-Leste, the ship was greeted with a welcome ceremony, including a dance of Checuvo from the Los Palos district in Timor-Leste. Timor-Leste’s defense minister Serilio also offered some remarks before he and his wife toured the facilities to be used in the mission.
After the mission was officially inaugurated, Sulaeman said that more than 500 people were soon present in the three waiting rooms that were set up on the vessel, with some receiving a referral for follow-up appointments.
According to IHS Jane’s Fighting Ships, Dr Soeharso, commissioned into the Indonesian Navy as the landing platform dock KRI Tanjung Dalpele back in September 2003, was subsequently redesignated a hospital ship in 2008. With a total length of 122 meters, an overall beam of 22 meters, and a hull draught of 4.9 meters, it can displace around 11,500 tons at full load and reach a top speed of 15 knots with a standard range of 8,600 nautical miles.
The vessel also received a visit on February 1 from Timor-Leste’s renowned former premier Xanana Gusmao, who now serves as the country’s minister of planning and strategic investment. After greeting patients and reviewing the medical services being offered, he expressed hope that such activities could be expanded in the future.
“This mission would enhance the sound relations between the governments of Indonesia and Timor-Leste,” Gusmao said according to ANTARA News. “In the future, I hope this activity would be organized in some other areas of Timor-Leste.”