The Defence Ministry is considering the purchase of new hospital ships for the Indonesian Navy (TNI AL) in order to boost the country's preparedness in dealing with natural disaster.
"The Navy expressed a need [for hospital ships] and we are considering the proposal," Indonesian Defence Minister Ryamizard Ryacudu said in Jakarta on Tuesday after the executive meeting with the military commander and the Air Force, the Navy, and the Army chiefs of staff.
The Navy Chief of Staff Admiral Ade Supandi told The Jakarta Post that the navy planned to purchase at least two hospital ships.
"There is still some discussion on the idea. However, it is clear that we will buy the ships from shipbuilder company PT PAL," Ade said.
He believed that two ships would be enough to support the government's humanitarian efforts in cases of disaster.
"We expect that the new hospital ships will be akin to KRI DR Soeharso-990, either the type or the size," Ade said.
Joining the Navy's fleet in 2003, KPR DR Soeharso is the only hospital ship in the country. With a length of 122 meters, KRI Dr Soeharso is a landing platform dock-type vessel.
In an emergency situation the ship can accommodate 400 soldiers and 3,000 passengers. During the fire-induced haze disaster last year, the Indonesian Military (TNI) deployed KRI DR Soeharso to evacuate women and children affected by smoke.