Page 47: of Maritime Reporter Magazine (September 2020)

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NAVIES & COVID-19 remained continuously at sea for 200 days. with no port visits. When the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) ship KD Lekiu was assigned to escort a ? oating superstructure owned by Malay-

Caribbean Cooperation sian oil company Petronas from South Korea to Malaysia,

France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom are work- everyone on board was given a clean bill of health prior to ing together to provide a coordinated humanitarian response leaving home port, and again when they arrived at Geoje-do, in the Caribbean, where all three nations have a presence. The an island off the port city of Busan.

French amphibious assault ship Dixmude, British primary According to RMN Lt. Norzuhaira Ruhanie, a new normal casualty receiving ship RFA Argus and Dutch multi-function started to creep into the ship’s operation and routine when the support ship for amphibious operations HNLMS Karel Door- global pandemic was declared, including a greater focus on man are now in the region to help with the COVID-19 crisis good hygiene.

currently affecting their overseas territories. “In port, masks were procured for the crew and hand sanitis-

RFA Argus and her 100-bed medical facility, was already ers in the sick bay were put to good use,” Ruhanie said. “So- scheduled to sail for the Caribbean, a region that contends cial distancing was practices as much possible. The medical with severe hurricanes and tropical storms each year, and Ar- of? cer on board, Lt (Dr) Amirul Arzahar, was kept busy with gus is prepared to respond if needed, but she is well equipped regular screening of the crew throughout the return journey. to assist British Overseas Territories dealing with the CO- The commanding of? cer, Captain Shaiful Nizam, realised the

VID-19 outbreak. In addition to Dixmude, the French navy journey home was a form of self-quarantine for him and the mobilized its other two its Mistral-class amphibious assault crew. No crew members became infected during the mission.” ships in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Mistral was The RMN is working closely with the Malaysian Armed dispatched to support the French territory of Reunion in the Forces’ Health Service Division and the Army’s Royal Medi-

Indian Ocean, and Tonnerre was sent to Corsica. The Karel cal and Dental Corps, in preparing a standard operating pro-

Doorman carries a medical support unit and can also supply cedure,” she said. “Regular screening and health checks are the other with fuel. A coordination cell has been set up on now required of all navy personnel involved in routine opera- the French island of Martinique to manage cooperative ef- tions.” forts when necessary. Looking to the not-too-distant future, In Thailand, the Navy and other services had to cut their normality won’t return until the virus can be prevented. Rus- budgets by a third to enable the government to ? ght the pan- sia already claims to have a vaccine. A number of promising demic. Among the cost-cutting measures being implemented, multi-national efforts are underway. The U.S. Department of the Navy is postponing procurement of its second and third

Defense claims that the public-private partnership “Operation submarines as a result.

Warp Speed,” is on track to meet its goal of delivering 300 The Bangladesh Navy assisted the civil administration in hundred million doses of safe and effective COVID-19 vac- implementing the government’s directives to ? ght corona- cines by the end of the year. In any event, navies will likely virus. Navy personnel distributed food, water, masks and play a role in testing and administration of new vaccines to disinfectant soap to local communities, and conducted an combat COVID 19. awareness campaign about social distancing and sanitation to prevent the virus transmission. The Navy had ships visiting

Global impact ports and ? shing villages to raise awareness among local com-

Even in February navies were becoming aware of the virus. munities about the coronavirus outbreak.

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