Norfolk-based hospital ship to support humanitarian mission in Latin America

180512-N-UX013-0270 ATLANTIC OCEAN (May 12, 2018) A view of Military Sealift Command’s hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) at sea during its Comfort Exercise (COMFEX) 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Clay/Released)

Norfolk-based hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) will deploy to Central America and South America in late September to begin a two-month humanitarian mission, helping provide medical care to Venezuelan refugees in Colombia.

The USNS Comfort's support was requested by the Colombian government to relieve the pressure of increased population flows from Venezuela on their national health system, which remains functioning but is under stress due to an influx of need.

"This mission is a symbol of what can be accomplished when partners work together to aid people in need," said Adm. Kurt Tidd, commander of U.S. Southern Command, which will oversee the deployment. "Because this mission is humanitarian in nature, it will focus on the people we're assisting, on the nations we're partnering with and on the region we're supporting together."

This marks the sixth hospital ship deployment to the region since 2007, and according to a release by the Navy, reflects the United States’ steadfast commitment of friendship and solidarity with the Americas.

Local squadron HSC-22 Sea Knights confirmed Friday that it will be assisting the USNS Comfort's mission.

A departure date has not been set.