CHITTAGONG, Bangladesh, Aug. 19 -- Chinese navy hospital ship Peace Ark on Monday arrived at Bangladesh's southeastern port city Chittagong,starting its one-week mission to provide free medical service to local people.
The visit is part of "Mission-Harmony-2013" undertaken by the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy to advocate China's philosophy of " Hormonious World" and "Harmonious Ocean", senior Colonel Zhang Wei, defense attache of the Chinese embassy to Dhaka, earlier told Xinhua.
"The great initiative of the Chinese government to launch ' mission Harmony 2013' proved that the Chinese people's Liberation Army has the immense willingness and ability to provide humanitarian service not only to their motherland China but also to other nations around the globe," Bangladesh Infomation Minister Hasanul Haq Inu said in his welcome speech.
This visit is a testimony of deep friendship between Bangladesh and China, Bangladesh's Deputy Chief of Navy Staff Saiful Kabir said, adding that such demonstration will enhance the progressive friendship and evolve military cooperation between the two navies to ensure secured maritime environment in this part of the world.
During its stay in Chittagong, apart from providing medical service to local people, the staff of Peace Ark will also conduct academic exchanges with Bangladesh military hospitals.
It is the second time "Peace Ark" visits the premier port of Bangladesh, some 242 km southeast of capital Dhaka. The hospital ship paid a successful visit to Chittagong in November 2010, providing free medical service to thousands of local people.
Bangladesh is one of the eight Asian nations that Peace Ark plans to visit for its four-month-long trip starting from June 10 to October 6. In the past two months, the hospital ship has visited Brunei, the Gulf of Aden, Maldives, Pakistan and India.
The Chinese hospital ship is an emergency medical support platform independently designed and built by China. Its tasks include treatment and evacuation of injured and sick personnel on the sea, and medical support for troops stationed at islands and atolls.
The ship is 178 metres long, 24 meters wide, 35.5 meters high with a displacement of 14,300 tons. It has seven offices for doctors and nurses and eight nurse stations, in addition to 300 beds. The medical equipment on the ship is on par with that in China's top-level hospitals.
There are 102 medical crew onboard the ship, inducing 46 doctors, 15 of whom have a degree of PHD and above.
The hospital ship will conclude its visit to Bangladesh on Aug. 25 and sail to Indonesia and Cambodia.
Over the past five years, Peace Ark has carried out three major overseas missions covering Asia, Africa and Latin America.