The Ministry of Defense of Spain has decided to deploy the Landing Platform Dock Galicia in the port of Melilla to reinforce its hospital capacity in order to serve novel coronavirus patients in the autonomous city. SPS Galicia is already berthed in the Rota base. Though she’s ready to leave as soon as it receives the order, she could leave mother-base after embarking medical personnel which must be provided by the Spanish Military Health Service.
The announcement was made on 31th March by the Chief of the Defense Staff during the daily press conference at the Palacio de la Moncloa. “The ship of the Galicia Navy is being prepared to go to increase the hospital capacity of Melilla,” he said, although he has not specified the exact day on which it will arrive in the city.
Though its not her main function, The Galicia served as a hospital ship in 2003 when it was docked at the Iraqi port of Umm Qasr military response and refugees following the invasion of the country by the United States. She has two operating rooms, eight ICU beds, a consulting room, triage, radiology, a laboratory, sterilization, an infectious area and a dental cabinet, as well as a capacity of up to 800 beds.
Although Melilla is not among the areas most affected by the pandemic, it is the only town whose health depends directly on Spanish Health System and in the current situation, with the Moroccan border closed, sending the naval ship constitutes a message of support psychological to the population.
Melilla is a Spanish autonomous city located on the northwest coast of Africa, sharing a border with Morocco. It has an area of 12.3 km2. Melilla is one of two permanently inhabited Spanish cities in mainland Africa, the other being nearby Ceuta. It was part of the Province of Málaga until 14 March 1995, when the city’s Statute of Autonomy was passed.
Galicia-class landing platform dock :
The Galicia class is a class of two 13,900 t landing platform dock ships, belonging to the Spanish Navy.
These ships have both a large helicopter deck and a 885-square-metre (9,530 sq ft) well deck for large landing craft, as well as a 1,000-square-metre (11,000 sq ft) space for up to 33 main battle tanks.
Galicia was commissioned in 1998 and Castilla in 2000. Galicia and Castilla are based at the Rota naval base in Spain.