Operazione White Crane

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Operazione White Crane[1] (Operation White Crane) was Italy's military relief operation for Haiti, following the 12 January 2010 earthquake.[2]

Force composition[edit]

Aircraft carrier Cavour

Italy is sending:

  • aircraft carrier Cavour[3]
    • Cavour's complement:
      • 6 Navy helicopters[2][3]
      • two operating theatres[3]
      • 550 ship's crew, medical complement, force protection sailors[2][3]
    • Shipped on Cavour: (Task Force Genio[5])
      • 15 Army tracked vehicles[2][3]
      • 20 Army wheeled vehicles[2][3]
      • 5 mobile medical vehicles[2]
      • Army personnel[3]
        • 200 alpine troops of the 2° reggimento Genio di Trento[NB 1][6]
      • Air Force personnel[3]
      • Carabinieri military police[2][3]
      • Carabinieri medical unit[2]
      • mobile hospital[2]
      • 200 tonnes of food[4]
  • Field hospital[7]
  • C-130[7]

Mission timeline[edit]

On 14 January 2010, Italy dispatched a C-130 loaded with 20 surgeons, some soldiers, some civil protection officers, and a field hospital. It decided to send a warship.[7]

On 19 January 2010, Cavour set sail for Haiti, leaving La Spezia.[3][8][9]

As of 29 January 2010, Cavour had picked up a Brazilian relief force at Fortaleza. The Brazilians added two helicopters, a UH-14 Super Puma and a UH-12 Squirrel (AS350[10]), 11 civilians (6 doctors, 5 nurses), 63 military (25 health professionals).[11]

On 1 February 2010, Cavour arrived at the Dominican Republic port of Puerto Caucedo, near the capital of Santo Domingo.[4] The land element, Task Force Genio,[5] disembarked, and would trek overland to Haiti, due to the damaged docks at Port-au-Prince. Cavour has RO-RO capability.[NB 2] It would depart for Haiti later.[12]

On 3 February 2010, Cavour had disgorged all the land-mobile land-element.[13] The overland trip to Port-au-Prince from Puerto Caucedo took 24 hours.[14]

On 6 February 2010, Cavour arrived at Port-au-Prince.[15]

As of 7 February 2010, over 25 aid flights using the Italian and Brazilian helicopters over the two days that Cavour had been at Port-au-Prince, had been completed.[10]

Cavour is expected to remain docked at Port-au-Prince through mid-April.[16]


Several Italians have criticized the use of Cavour since it costs over 200,000 Euros a day to operate, and shipping by air would have been far faster. Others have said, that it is a drop in the bucket compared to the efforts by the US. Some have pointed out, it is one of the largest efforts out of Europe.[6]


  1. ^ 2nd engineering regiment of Trento
  2. ^ RO-RO = roll-on, roll-off -- similar to a ferry, where you can drive on and drive off again


  1. ^ (in Italian) ANSA, "Portaerei Cavour, gli aiuti per Haiti", 4 February 2010 (accessed 6 February 2010)
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i (in French) Bruxelles2, "Le porte-avions italien Cavour en route vers Haïti", Nicolas Gros-Verheyde, 26 January 2010 (accessed 6 February 2010)
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Defense News, "Italian Carrier Cavour Heads to Haiti", Tom Kington, 18 January 2010 (accessed 6 February 2010)
  4. ^ a b c d (in Italian) Il Messaggero, "Haiti, arrivata la portaerei Cavour Gli Usa riprendono evacuazione feriti", 1 February 2010 (accessed 6 February 2010)
  5. ^ a b (in Italian) Qui News, '“Portaerei Cavour” supporto logistico a 24 ore di viaggio', Carmelo Sorbera, 23 February 2010 (accessed 23 February 2010)
  6. ^ a b (in Italian) L'Occidentale, "L'intervento italiano ad Haiti: portaerei, terremotati e sterili polemiche", Gianandrea Gaiani, 6 February 2010 (accessed 6 February 2010)
  7. ^ a b c (in French) Marine Marchande, "Haïti: l'Italie envisage l'envoi d'un navire militaire (ministre)", AFP, 15 January 2010 (accessed 6 February 2010)
  8. ^ (in Italian) Mediapolitika, "Haiti, la terra trema: migliaia fra morti e senza tetto. Berlusconi invia Bertolaso", Lucia Varasano, 22 January 2010 (accessed 6 February 2010)
  9. ^ (in Italian) LRNews, "Haiti. La Cavour in rotta verso Haiti con il contingente della missione umanitaria italo-brasiliana", Ferdinando Pelliccia, 29 January 2010 (accessed 6 February 2010)
  10. ^ a b (in Italian) Il Velino, "Haiti, continua l'impegno dei militari italiani", 8 February 2010 (accessed 9 February 2010)
  11. ^ Nam News Network, "Italian Aircraft Carrier with Brazilian Volunteers to aid Haiti", Xinhua, 29 January 2010 (accessed 6 February 2010)
  12. ^ (in Italian) Cronaca, "Haiti: portaerei Cavour attracca a Puerto Caucedo", Adnkronos, 3 February 2010 (accessed 6 February 2010)
  13. ^ (in Italian) Virgilio, "Scaricato dalla Cavour tutto il materiale", APCOM, 4 February 2010 (accessed 9 February 2010)
  14. ^ (in Portuguese) Panorama Brasil, "Haitianos feridos em terremoto chegam à Itália", Voltar, 8 February 2010 (accessed 9 February 2010)
  15. ^ (in Italian) Terra News, "Continuate ad aiutarci Haiti rischia l’oblio", Floriana Bulfon, 7 February 2010 (accessed 9 February 2010)
  16. ^ Tandem, "Strengthening ties with Italo communities", Paola Bernardini, 14 March 2010 (accessed 30 March 2010)