GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba (NNS) -- Dutch Navy ship HNLMS Pelikaan (A 804) arrived at Guantanamo Bay (GTMO) Naval Station Jan. 22 to on load relief supplies and Navy divers from Mobile Dive and Salvage Unit 2 (MDSU 2) to assist with humanitarian assistance operations in Haiti.
Pelikaan, a logistics support vessel homeported in the Dutch Antilles island of Curacao, departed GTMO immediately after embarking the divers and was expected to arrive in Haiti Jan. 23. MDSU 2 divers are being called upon to provide critical underwater clearance operations in and around Port-Au-Prince to allow port access for the seaborne delivery of relief supplies.
Many port and pier facilities were badly damaged in the Jan. 12 earthquake, and relief supplies have been arriving primarily through Port-Au-Prince airport and from Navy amphibious and air assets off shore.
"We are here to provide the salvage capability to free up the port, which will allow for supplies and commerce to flow into Haiti from the sea," said Warrant Officer 2 Tim Andros, MDSU 2 diving officer. "This Dutch ship is giving us a ride and helping us get there to help as soon as possible."
The utilization of the Dutch Navy logistics ship is the latest example of multi-national cooperation being coordinated through Task Force 48 at GTMO. The Task Force, under the command of Rear Adm. Patricia Wolfe, is operating a joint logistics hub in support of the joint sea base to lift life-saving humanitarian aid to Haiti.
"We are very pleased to work with the task force here to bring these divers and aid to Haiti," said Lt. Cmdr. Maarten Veenstra, Pelikaan commanding officer. "We were just in Haiti before coming here, and the situation was bad. They need this help."
In all, 27 MDSU 2 expeditionary combat salvage divers and support personnel were loaded onto Pelikaan, along with 32 pallets of food rations, water and water jugs.
For more news from Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, visit www.navy.mil/local/guantanamo/.