22 May 2009

US sends replacement ship on Pacific medical aid mission

2:41 pm on 22 May 2009

The U.S Navy is using the military sealift cargo ship, Richard Byrd, to replace the Dubuque on a humanitarian mission to the Pacific.

Military and civilian medical, dental and engineering specialists will visit Samoa, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Kiribati and the Marshall Islands, bringing with them tonnes of relief supplies.

They will leave San Diego early next month aboard the cargo ship Amelia Earhart and later transfer at sea to the Byrd.

Union Tribune online says navy officials withdrew the Dubuque from the mission on May 5 after 50 of the ship's crew came down with swine flu, or H1N1 influenza.