WASHINGTON (WJZ)– U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) urged the U.S. Navy to keep the USNS Comfort in the Port of Baltimore.
The Navy had announced that it would move the hospital ship to Norfolk, Va. in 2013 to save time and money.
Mikulski chaired a hearing of the Defense Appropriations Subcomittee on the 2013 budget request and oversight for Naval operations. She said the Comfort being stationed in Baltimore would keep jobs in the city.
“Now, we feel really bad that we are going to lose the Comfort,” she said. “We love the Comfort. It’s the hospital ship we’ve watched steam down the Bay to respond to significant missions for the nation since 1987. Whether it’s to respond to Desert Storm or whether it’s responding to the 9/11 off the coast of New York.”
“Senator, the decision to move the Comfort was purely financial,” Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus said. “The pier in Baltimore is a private pier that we pay a little more than $2 million a year to keep the Comfort berthed there. The pier we are moving to is a Navy pier. So we will save in excess of $2 million a year to move the Comfort there.”
Mabus also cited a new pier that would offer better facilities for the ship, permanent crew members and medical professionals who will man the ship.
The Comfort has been in Baltimore since 1987 and has been deployed to provide medical relief during the Sept. 11 attacks in New York City, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the earthquake in Haiti.