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Steller Systems - Humanitarian Operations Ship (HOS)

Steller Systems  - Humanitarian Operations Ship (HOS)The provision of dedicated Humanitarian Operation Ships (HOS) has the potential to offer a more targeted and efficient response to this core aspect of naval operations, while providing a range of other benefits. This is not a warship; it is not a support ship for military operations. It is a ship designed for disaster relief and humanitarian assistance and support.

Steller Systems has designed a 140m ship specifically for this purpose, including a ramp and vehicle deck that can be accessed directly from the deck as well as cranage and a substantial forward hold. A 100 bed, NATO Role 3 medical treatment facility, sized to exceed the recommendations of naval defence standards, are located in the aft of the superstructure on the main weather deck, allowing direct access for casualties arriving via the helideck or through the vehicle deck ramp. Lifeboats are located adjacent to the medical facility, allowing direct transfer of patients and stretchers in the case of an emergency evacuation.

A large forward upper and lower hold give 6500m3 of flexible storage space over two levels, suitable for storage of containers, vehicles and a wide range of mission specific stores. An offset hangar has been included, large enough to accommodate a Merlin helicopter and a small vehicle garage for stowage of bosuns stores and deck vehicles.

Responding to natural or man-made disasters forms a key part of the Royal Navys (RNs) remit, deploying its highly skilled workforce to deliver aid, provide life-saving equipment, restore infrastructure and conduct evacuations and repatriations. Currently humanitarian operations are conducted by a variety of RN vessels, drawing upon the skills and adaptability of their crew. However the vessels, which are designed primarily or exclusively for military operations, are required to operate outside of their design intent and so provide a sub-optimal humanitarian response; furthermore, conducting humanitarian operations prevents the vessels from conducting military duties and interrupts their operational programs.

With both the overseas aid and Ministry of Defence (MOD) budgets under increasing scrutiny, it is important to ensure that both are being used in the most effective manner; can more be achieved using a different approach? The provision of dedicated Humanitarian Operation Ships (HOS) has the potential to offer a more targeted and efficient response to this core aspect of naval operations, whilst providing a range of other benefits.

In the case of the Vietnamese, Laotian, and Cambodian boat people, refugees were seeking shelter from violence and collapsing states. Between 1975 and 1997, 1.6 million people were resettled in Europe and North America, and part of them owe their lives to the rescue ships funded by European citizens.

Tens of thousands of refugees and migrants attempt to cross the Central Mediterranean every year. A comparable number of people attempted to cross the Mediterranean irrespective of different sea operations during Mare Nostrum, Triton, European Union Naval Force Mediterranean (EUNAFOR MED), and SAR activities by humanitarian NGOs.

The end of the Mare Nostrum operation in October 2014 accelerated things. By late summer 2016, 13 humanitarian ships were operating in what was technically known as a SAR, or search and rescue area. In the spring of 2017 the ships started coming back, with nine vessels already operating by early May; 13 more were expected to join them starting in June. The largest ships Aquarius, Prudence, Save The Childrens VOS Hestia, and lastly Golfo Azzurro cost thousands of euros every day. There are no official European vessels with a mandate to search and rescue.

The situation in the Mediterranean changed in 2017 when Italy's center-left government, with the backing of the European Union, revived the Libyan coast guard which would return refugees to Libya. In theory, the Rome-based Maritime Rescue Coordination Center (MRCC) assigns the duties to the vessel in the best position.

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Page last modified: 03-08-2018 15:02:38 ZULU