(BRUSSELS2) The Dutch navy support ship, the HsMs Pelikaan, is now docked in Port-au-Prince. In fact, it is the first ship to dock in the port since the earthquake that struck Haiti.
The earthquake devastated the city but also hit hard the port which was impassable. Which was a problem for the relief operations. " Ships are needed in this type of disaster to deliver humanitarian aid” explains an expert on the matter. A plane can only carry a few tens of tons of freight in its sides, whereas a ship can carry several thousand tons of merchandise (the Americans have also mobilized their merchant navy). (1)
To dock, the Dutch sailors had to sound the channel several times and clear it of all obstacles that could threaten the safety of the ships. A work carried out thanks to the Pelikaan crane. And the Dutch navy has received a mandate from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to finish clearing the port and allow other ships to dock.
Note: a detachment of 45 Marines from the 32nd Marine Infantry Company of Aruba, 6 soldiers from the Aruba Militia and 2 gendarmes from the Constabulary, are present to ensure the safety of both sailors and the search and rescue team (USAR) deployed in the city.
(1) To give an idea, a single well-laden ship is equivalent to all the planes arriving in a single day at Haiti's airport (which has a limited capacity: maximum 100 planes)
(photo credit: Dutch Navy)