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Sanitary transport ship

The Russian Defense Ministry became interested in acquiring hospital ships during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, when the Irtysh hospital ship was involved in the Far East to unload hospitals and hospitals. On 25 August 2020, at the Army-2020 forum, Oleg Ryazantsev, deputy head of the RF Ministry of Industry and Trade, told TASS that the United Shipbuilding Corporation had proposed several options for building new hospital ships of various types, different layouts, placement, classes - coastal and deep ocean zones. According to him, the Ministry of Defense will make a decision on the construction of such a fleet based on the available resources.

At the Army-2020 International Military-Technical Forum, Ak Bars CEO Renat Mistakhov told TASS what peaceful tasks the Russian ships would perform. "Any warship can be used for peaceful purposes. The customer indicated to us that today the issue of organizing this ship for a hospital ship is being worked out. Because the helicopter carrier has everything you need - cabins, galleys, separate rooms, a helicopter hangar, a dock chamber. Therefore, now, in the design process, we are selecting the medical equipment that should be stationary, which should always be inside the ship. And we suggested to the customer that we would make the initially defined equipment stationary, for example, oxygen. The rest of the equipment that is not needed in combat operations will not be mounted on the UDC - a place will be reserved for it, a placement option has been worked out. That is, if necessary, the UDC will be saturated with medical equipment and materials in addition to the basic set."

The purpose of the hospital ship is medical support for ships at sea and at basing points, can be used to solve the evacuation and transportation tasks of the medical service of the fleet and ground forces; the provision of wounded and sick qualified surgical and therapeutic and certain types of specialized medical care; providing medical assistance to affected personnel in the event of accidents of submarines and surface ships and other power plants; the provision of medical care in the event of an earthquake and other extreme peacetime situations; isolation and treatment of infectious and other contact patients; outpatient care; medical support of inter-hitch rest for submarine crews with physiotherapy exercises and monitoring the functional state of health of personnel; constant readiness to deploy a hospital to receive homogeneous infectious patients due to the plight of the infectious diseases hospital; medical examination of ships leaving for combat service, work at remote and poorly equipped points.

During the Great War, hospital ships were first used on a massive scale, but they were mainly used to transport sick and wounded soldiers from the Theater of War to hospital facilities in the United States. During World War II the US Navy and the US Army operated hospital ships for various purposes: the ships of the navy hospital were fully equipped hospitals, designed to receive victims directly from the battlefield, and were also provided with advanced medical supplies to provide logistic support groups on shore, while army hospital ships were essentially hospital transports designed and equipped to evacuate patients from advanced field hospitals to hospitals (or from the United States), were not equipped or staffed to serve a large number of direct combat casualties action.

Until 1941, recreational and tourist "Crimean-Caucasian" motor ships traveled along the Black Sea. The first ships - "Abkhazia", ??"Georgia", "Ukraine", "Adjara", "Crimea" and "Armenia" - appeared in the mid-1920s. Some of them were built in Germany, and some in Leningrad at the Baltic Shipyard. After the outbreak of the war, the Krymchaks, as they were popularly called, were converted into medical transport ships and given to the medical service of the Black Sea Fleet. They transported the wounded, children, women and medical personnel. In July 1941, Wehrmacht air forces bombed hospital ships in the Black Sea. Then Kotovsky and Anton Chekhov underwent shelling, and later, in August, Adzharia and Kuban sank as a result of air raids.

At the beginning of World War II at the Odessa Shipyard, Armenia (motor ship, 1928) was converted into a sanitary transport ship. Red crosses were painted on it and the flag of the international Red Cross was hoisted. By August 10, 1941, work was completed. August 8 became part of the Black Sea Fleet. As a medical vessel, it used to transport injured soldiers, civilians and medical supplies. Although hospital ships painted with large red crosses were supposed to be exempt from being fired on under the Hague Convention, this rule was not always adhered to by the Germans or the Soviets.

As it happened, Armenia was known to be equipped with some light anti-aircraft armament and she had previously transported soldiers and equipment, leaving her status as a hospital ship questionable. On 07 November 1941, the Soviet hospital ship, the Armenia, was torpedoed and sunk by the Nazis. It has been estimated that approximately 5,000 to 7,000 people were killed during the sinking, making it one of the deadliest maritime disasters in history. There were only eight survivors. Perhaps the biggest tragedy was the death of the Lenin motor ship, which was traveling from Sevastopol, on board of which there were 9,200 people, but there are no documented data on the death toll.

Hospital ship "Ob" was commissioned in the Pacific Fleet in 1980. The Yenisei hospital ship was included in the fleet in 1981. It participated in the evacuation of refugees during the Georgian-Abkhaz war (1992) as part of the Black Sea Fleet. Hospital ship "Svir" was built in Poland and introduced into the Northern Fleet in 1989. He participated in long trips to Cuba (1990), to Angola (1992), in the medical support of the expedition to raise the Kursk nuclear submarine (2001). Hospital ship "Irtysh" was commissioned in the Pacific Fleet in 1990.

Hospital ships provide afloat mobile, emergency surgical medical facilities when called upon by the United States military. There were other medical vessels that performed other functions - ambulance vessels, rescue and evacuation vessels.

Hospital ships have a special status - this special status was recognized internationally in accordance with the second Geneva Convention of 1906 and the Hague Convention of 1907. Specific limitations for a hospital ship are outlined in Article Four of the Hague Convention X:

  • The ship should be clearly marked and lit as a hospital ship
  • The ship must provide medical assistance to the wounded of all nationalities.
  • The ship should not be used for military purposes
  • The ship must not interfere or interfere with the warships of the enemy.
  • Belligerents, as defined by the Hague Convention, may search any hospital ship to investigate violations of the above restrictions.
  • Belligerents will locate the hospital ship

In addition, the convention established that during the war hospital ships are exempt from duties and taxes levied on ships in the ports of states that have ratified the treaty.

Recently, in June 1994, the International Institute for Humanitarian Law adopted San Remo on international law applicable to armed conflicts at sea, after a series of round tables held between 1988 and 1994 by diplomats, naval and legal experts. According to the San Remo Guide, a hospital ship that violates legal restrictions must be properly warned and a reasonable time allowed to comply. If the hospital ship continues to violate restrictions, the belligerent has the right to seize it or use other means to enforce compliance.

An inappropriate hospital vessel may only be fired upon under the following conditions:

  • No sabotage or capture possible
  • There is no other method to control
  • The violations are serious enough for the ship to be classified as a military target.
  • Damage and loss will not be disproportionate to military advantage.

In any other circumstances, attacking a hospital ship is a war crime.

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Page last modified: 13-09-2021 17:22:35 ZULU