The U.S. military is sending additional ships to help in Haiti, including one that could remove debris blocking the main port, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Wednesday.
The defense chief signed orders Wednesday to send a port-clearing ship with cranes aboard to the devastated Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince. The ship would remove debris that is preventing many larger ships from docking, holding up the delivery of vital food and other relief.
Speaking during a visit to India, Gates said the ship could help get the port back in operation within a week or two.
The Pentagon also said that a Navy hospital ship, the USNS Comfort, had received its first Haitian patients. A 6-year-old boy and 20-year-old man were flown by Navy helicopter to the hospital ship, which got into port Wednesday.
Some 800 Marines moved ashore Tuesday in Haiti, ferrying supplies on helicopters and Humvees as the U.S. military force there swelled to as many as 11,000. Military officials said troops and supplies were arriving as fast as possible despite daunting logistical hurdles.