Minister Subianto Contacts Egypt for Hospital Ship to Enter Gaza

Jumat, 1 Desember 2023 – 19:31 WIB

Bogor – The Indonesian Defense Minister Prabowo Subianto stated that he had contacted his Egyptian counterpart, General Mohamed Ahmed Zaki, over the permit for docking Indonesian hospital ship KRI Dr. Radjiman Wedyodiningrat-992 in Egyptian waters near Gaza, Palestine.

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Earlier, Minister Subianto offered to send the hospital ship to provide health services to war victims in Gaza.

However, to dock the ship, Indonesia requires clearance from the Egyptian government, considering that the Egyptian territory in Sinai, namely El Arish, is the aid collection point for Gaza. It is also the closest location for entering the Gaza area, namely via the Rafah border.

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“I have contacted Minister Zaki and he asked us to hold on because there were so many ships waiting to dock,” Subianto said during a press conference in Bogor, West Java, on Friday.

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The Indonesian Navy’s hospital ship will not be allowed to sail for the Egyptian waters near Gaza for the next few weeks, he informed.

“Minister Zaki said it would not be possible to dock (the ship) there for several weeks,” he continued. 

However, Minister Subianto is continuing to communicate with Minister Zaki regarding aid delivery and the other humanitarian actions that Indonesia could carry out on the Egyptian-Palestinian border near Gaza.

“We will find ways to help them. If necessary, we will evacuate victims, injured patients, and rehabilitation. Our arms are open for Palestinian victims,” 

Regarding the evacuation of victims from Gaza, he said he has sought directions from President Joko Widodo (Jokowi). 

Though the permit has not yet been issued, the Indonesian Navy has prepared KRI Dr. Radjiman Wedyodiningrat-992 to carry out a humanitarian mission in the waters near Gaza.

The ship has been painted white with red crosses on account of its function as an auxiliary hospital. 

This is based on international rules, namely the Geneva Convention and the San Remo Manual, which states that hospital ships on humanitarian missions must be painted white to prevent them from becoming targets during a war.

Since November 30, 2023, KRI Dr. Radjiman Wedyodiningrat-992 has been docked at the Indonesian Navy’s Military Seaborne Command Headquarters in Jakarta.

The ship has been stocked with humanitarian assistance equivalent to 80 trucks. The assistance comprises Pampers products (532 sacks), children’s clothes (600 sacks), adults’ clothes (700 sacks and 500 boxes), milk (800 boxes), biscuits (650 boxes), mineral water (1,254 gallons and 1,700 boxes), medicines (460 boxes), blankets (450 sacks), jackets (450 sacks), and instant noodles (470 boxes).

The commander of KRI Dr. Radjiman Wedyodiningrat-992, Colonel Bayu Dwi Wicaksono, assured that the ship is ready to sail to safe waters near Gaza to provide health services to Palestinian war victims.

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“This ship has been sailing for almost a year. We also carried out an operational mission in Indonesia, in Natuna. We carried out social services there. I think we are capable of doing a similar thing in other countries,” Wicaksono informed. 

If the Egyptian government later allows Indonesia to send the hospital ship to safe waters near Gaza, the voyage will be the first mission of the ship outside Indonesian waters.

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However, Minister Subianto is continuing to communicate with Minister Zaki regarding aid delivery and the other humanitarian actions that Indonesia could carry out on the Egyptian-Palestinian border near Gaza.

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