The hospital ship USNS Comfort arrived in Punterenas, Costa Rica, on Sunday to offer medical help to refugees from Venezuela and Nicaragua. File Photo by Ryan Steinhour/U.S. Navy/UPI | License Photo
July 22 (UPI) -- The USNS Comfort, a hospital ship on a mission of serving refugees from Venezuela and Nicaragua, arrived in Punterenas, Costa Rica.
The U.S. Navy said Monday the vessel traveled from Callo, Peru, and arrived in Costa Rica on Sunday for a five-day stay in port, part of a 14-nation mission in the Caribbean and in Central and South America.
Over 320 medical professionals from the United States, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica and Peru will offer medical evaluations, dental examinations and treatment, optometry, physical therapy, general ambulatory surgery and other services to those who have fled political upheaval in Venezuela and Nicaragua.
The Comfort left Naval Station Norfolk, Va., in May, for its seventh deployment to the region since 2007.
The ship will have visited Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Panama, Peru, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago before its mission is finished. Peru was its second stop, after Ecuador.
The ship completed its five-day "medical mission," the U.S. Southern Command said in a statement last week, to "relieve pressure on national medical systems strained by an increase in Venezuelan migrants." In Peru, over 4,500 patients were treated and over 100 surgeries were performed aboard the ship.
The USNS Comfort is a non-combatant hospital vessel typically staffed by officers of the Navy's Medical Corps, Dental Corps, Medical Service Corps, Nurse Corps and Chaplain Corps, and enlisted Hospital Corpsman personnel.