‘Peace Ark’ arriving Chittagong


The 300-bed floating hospital is equipped with modern and traditional Chinese medical facilities.

“It will arrive around 12 o’clock on August 19th,” China’s defence attaché in Dhaka Senior Colonel Zhang Wei said on Monday at a press briefing.

“This ship is unarmed and painted white with red crosses to conform to the Geneva Convention criteria for a civilian hospital ship,” he said.

Commissioned in December 2008, the hospital ship has a medical crew of 102 including 46 doctors and is equipped with CT, Doppler Ultrasound, automatic biochemical analyzer, operations theatres, burn ward and bacteria-free ward.

It has intensive care (ICU) facilities.

The visit is part of the ‘Mission Harmony 2013’ of Chinese navy to “advocate China’s philosophy of harmonious world and harmonious ocean”, Colonel Wei said.

Bangladesh would be the only country among the eight Asian countries under the mission that the hospital ship visited twice.

Colonel Zhang said the second visit followed the ‘successful’ first one in November 2010 which he said was “well-received and productive”.

In Nov’ 2010, the floating hospital treated more than 3200 patients and provided health check up to 173 persons and conducted operated on 23.

China maintains close military ties with Bangladesh. The mutual relations between the two militaries were established 40 years ago with the establishment of diplomatic relations.

China also supplies military hardware.

Bangladesh Army bought their first-ever fourth-generation Main Battle Tanks (MBT)-2000 from China.

The military relations figure in high-level mutual visits and training programmes between the forces of the two countries.

The Chinese embassy in Dhaka earlier said top military officers would visit China before the end of this year.

Colonel Zhang said they always look forward “to improve relationship with Bangladesh and its armed forces”.

Bangladesh navy will coordinate the Peace Ark’s mission and doctors onboard will see at least 300 patients’ every day.

The ship will also send medical team to local Navy Patenga Hospital, Ash Alor and Navy Primary School for medical services.

Medical specialists from Bangladesh Navy will also accompany the Peace Ark staff during free medical camps.

The Colonel said during its first visit a dying pregnant woman with congenital heart disease was saved by the Chinese medical team.

“After emergency operations, the woman safely gave birth to a baby girl. The girl’s father named her ‘Chin’”.

The doctors will meet the three-year old girl and give follow-up treatment, he said.

The Peace Ark began its four-month mission on June 10 and will come to Bangladesh after sailing in Brunei, the Gulf of Aden, Maldives, Pakistan and India.

The ship is nearly three times the size of the largest ship of Bangladesh navy. It will leave Bangladesh on August 25 and sail to Indonesia and Cambodia before wrapping up the mission on October 6.

The ship can come back any time “if Bangladesh needs and asks for medical help”, he said.

Source: Bd news24