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Earthquake in Haiti: The Dutch navy ship Pelikaan, docked

HsMsPelikaanHaiti@Nl100119

(BRUSSELS2) The Dutch Navy support ship, 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 hit 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 in the case. A plane can only carry a few dozen tons of cargo on its sides, whereas a ship can carry several thousand tons of goods (the Americans have also mobilized their merchant navy). (1)

To dock, the Dutch sailors had to probe 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.

Please note: a detachment of 45 Marines from the 32nd Aruba Marine Infantry Company, 6 soldiers from the Aruba Militia and 2 gendarmes from the Marechaussee, are present to ensure the safety of both the sailors and the the rescue and search team (USAR) deployed in the city.

(1) To give an idea, a single fully loaded 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)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).