Mercy Ships volunteer gains seafaring experience on Costa vessel

What most impresses Rodrigo Souza Fraga is how well the Costa crew are trained. 'At the end of this four-month commitment I will have the opportunity to upgrade my officer's license,' he said What most impresses Rodrigo Souza Fraga is how well the Costa crew are trained. 'At the end of this four-month commitment I will have the opportunity to upgrade my officer's license,' he said

As part of the cooperation announced in 2017 between Mercy Ships and Costa Group, a crewman from Africa Mercy recently signed on with Costa neoRomantica to gain sea service and experience.

Spaniard Rodrigo Souza Fraga, 38, embarked as a third officer. He reports to the officer on watch, serving as a member of the bridge team for navigation and watch-keeping.

Souza Fraga is the second officer aboard Africa Mercy, the largest nongovernmental hospital ship in the world, which provides free surgical and dental care to people in some of the world's neediest countries. More than 400 volunteers from over 40 nations work aboard Africa Mercy. Since the ship remains in port for 10-month stints, actual sea time for maritime crew is much less than on other ships.

'My time on board the Costa neoRomantica is very challenging yet very fulfilling,' Souza Fraga said. 'There are many positive aspects of the daily work that I'm learning and can be beneficial for Mercy Ships. But what catches my attention the most is how well people are trained. At the end of this four-month commitment I will have the opportunity to upgrade my officer's license. Being able to spend a substantial amount of time at sea is helping me to sharpen my sailing skills.'

This program is one of several activities that Costa Group and Mercy Ships agreed on in their partnership. In other efforts, Costa Group ships are sharing the mission of Mercy Ships' work with passengers and crew, and Costa Group crew can volunteer to serve on Africa Mercy. In addition, the Costa Group donated €100,000 to Mercy Ships.

Posted 16 March 2018

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Anne Kalosh

Editor, Seatrade Cruise News & Senior Associate Editor Seatrade Cruise Review