The world's largest civilian hospital ship is scheduled to arrive mid-September in Belgium where it will remain until early next year.
International and national cooperation
The Senegalese and Egyptian governments facilitated Global Mercy's passage through the Suez Canal free of charge. Mercy Ships said this gesture will allow it to help many thousands more people in Africa in the long run.
'On the initiative of and led by President Macky Sall of Senegal, together with an active involvement of his ambassador in Brussels, the president and the authorities of Egypt agreed to guide Global Mercy through the Suez Canal free of charge and without any cost to the charity. This is a wonderful example of a unique collaboration between two heads of state to support Mercy Ships and contribute to the improvement of healthcare in Africa,' said Bert van Dijk, international board member and president of Mercy Ships Belgium.
Hope and healing
'... Mercy Ships is a wonderful organization that brings hope and healing to many African countries,' President Sall said. 'We will welcome the Global Mercy with open arms in the spring of 2022 and give our full support at the start of its first mission in Africa. We are very grateful for the indispensable support of so many to actually help my country and my people.'
The Port of Antwerp has made Global Mercy's stay there possible by offering a free berth and support. Volunteers from home and abroad will set up and finish the ship, delivered by China's Tianjin Xingang Shipyard in June. Work will include the installation of medical equipment and IT systems, as well as the supply and crewing for the first mission.
'The social commitment in the port community is very high, so we are not alone in our support,' said Annick De Ridder, chairman of the port and alderman of Antwerp. 'Dozens of companies in our port already support Mercy Ships structurally and will do the same in the equipping of the Global Mercy. Mercy Ships and the wonderful work they do are close to the heart of the Port of Antwerp.'
Doubling impact in Africa
Global Mercy will be the 'partner ship' of the long-serving Africa Mercy. Mercy Ships expects to more than double the impact of its work with the new vessel, both with life-changing operations and with education and training of local caregivers in Africa's poorest countries.
Global Mercy can accommodate 950 people, including 641 crew members, who consist of volunteers from all over the world. In addition to the hospital, the ship has first-class training facilities with which Mercy Ships contributes to the sustainable development of medical care in many countries.
Six operating rooms, 200 beds and more
The 174-meter/571-foot, 37,000gt Global Mercy houses six operating rooms, 200 beds, a laboratory, general outpatient clinics and eye and dental clinics. The total area of the hospital department is 7,000 square meters/75,347 square feet.
In spring 2022, Mercy Ships plans to open Global Mercy to the public for tours in Rotterdam before it begins service in Dakar, Senegal, the first of what is expected to be many new missions in the next 50 years.