SAN DIEGO (CNS) – The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Mercy departed San Diego Tuesday, marking the beginning of a multinational humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission.

In its 17th year, Pacific Partnership is the largest such mission and is conducted in the Indo-Pacific area, a Navy release read. The team will work with host nation and regional partners to provide medical, dental and veterinary care, conduct “bilateral engineering civic actions” and exchange information related to disaster response.

“Pacific Partnership is a unifying mission that builds trust among nations to work efficiently together in preparing to respond in crisis,” said Capt. Hank Kim, Pacific Partnership 22 mission commander. “I look forward to exchanging experiences and expertise with our host and partner nations to collectively build skills that will last well after the mission.”

As part of the mission, Mercy and its team will conduct missions throughout Oceania and the Western Pacific. Typical Pacific Partnership events include the building of schools, medical and engineering expert exchanges and host nation outreach events, the Navy said.

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