Medical services ship heads out to South Pacific
A medical services ship – Zhepuyuan 98 – slipped anchor and sailed off on its maiden voyage from a fishing wharf in the Putuo district of Zhoushan city in East China's Zhejiang province on March 13, according to local media reports.
The Zhepuyuan 98. [Photo/zjol.com.cn]
In some 40 days, the ship is expected to travel more than 10,000 kilometers and arrive in fishing grounds on the high seas in the South Pacific near Peru. It will be the medical services provider for some 10,000 workers in some 400 Chinese fishing vessels operating there.
The ship is the first-ever mobile hospital for the province's ocean-going fishing vessels. Two doctors are aboard the ship on its maiden voyage.
The ship measures 72.8 meters in length and 11 m in width and weighs 1,305 metric tons. It is installed with dedicated rooms for consultations, surgery, telemedicine, pharmacy duties and has inpatient wards. Its medical facilities include fully automatic hematology analyzers, B-ultrasonic examination devices and electrocardiographs. Through remote videos, doctors in Zhoushan can immediately help with the ship's medical treatment.
Most of the Chinese fishing vessels in the area off Peru are from Zhoushan. Many of the fishermen have remained there for years and previously had to seek medical treatment in Peru whenever needed. It takes them at least five days to land in Peru and get to the nearest hospitals, a situation that often exacerbates their illness.
To address the issue, Zhoushan's authorities spent 9 million yuan ($1.38 million) renovating the Zhepuyuan 98 and converting it into a dedicated medical services vessel.
"On arrival in the fishing grounds, the ship will patrol in areas where Chinese fishing vessels are densely concentrated, offering timely treatment for fishermen who fall ill or are injured," a head official from the Zhoushan Ocean and Fishing Administration said.
In addition to the medical services, the ship will also help supervise safety in production, mediate in possible disputes and provide logistic support for the Chinese fishing ships.