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Tianjin Xingang delivers hospital ship Global Mercy, 'a dream come true'

PHOTO: MERCY SHIPS CRUISE_Global_Mercy_delivery.jpg
The handover was celebrated in the presence of representatives from Mercy Ships, project managers from Stena RoRo and shipyard management
Tianjin Xingang Shipyard delivered the world's largest civilian hospital ship, Global Mercy, to charity Mercy Ships.

The 12-deck, 37,000gt vessel is equipped with six operating theaters, hospital beds for 200 patients, a full laboratory and simulation training areas. 

The handover was celebrated in the presence of representatives from Mercy Ships, project managers from Stena RoRo and shipyard management, joined by a remote audience of Mercy Ships staff and crew from around the world.

Hope, healing and transformation

'This day is a dream come true — not only for us, but for those we serve,' Mercy Ships founder Don Stephens said. 'African heads of state and ministers of health have often expressed a desire for more of their healthcare professionals to be trained in-country. This ship will do exactly that. Many who suffer from disability and disfigurement will have access to surgical treatment and whole-person care in healthcare systems that will enable them to reach their God-given potential.

'We hope that this new vessel and the volunteer crew who serve on her will bring hope, healing and transformation for the next 40 to 50 years,' he added.

Per Westling, CEO of Stena RoRo, said: 'We are very proud to take delivery of this special ship. The activities to be carried out on board have placed special and high demands on the construction of this ship. For the yard, it was the first time this type of vessel was built — a challenge that they managed very well. For Mercy Ships, delivery means that their capacity to help more than doubles.  And at Stena RoRo we are happy to be a part of their fantastic work through Global Mercy.'

Mercy Ships has been working on this ship project for more than eight years. Contracts were signed in 2013, and the keel laid in 2015. Sea trials were completed in late April. 

Equipping the world’s largest NGO hospital ship

In July Global Mercy is scheduled to sail to Europe. There, hosted by the Port of Antwerp from early September, it will be further outfitted with IT and medical equipment installations and soft furnishings.

Volunteer crew will also begin to sign on in stages during this phase which concludes with open events in Rotterdam in first quarter 2022 where Global Mercy will be presented to sponsors, future volunteers, the media and other interested parties. A further Africa welcome is being planned in Dakar, Senegal, before the ship begins full operation.

Double the impact

It is estimated that surgical conditions account for nearly one-third of all disease in the world (Lancet 2015). Building on the charity’s more than 30 years of experience in Africa delivering surgical care, Global Mercy is equipped with first-class training facilities designed to multiply impact within the nations served. Volunteer professionals will contribute alongside local healthcare professionals in the host country.

Global collaboration 

Swedish shipbuilders Stena RoRo have been responsible for construction supervision, Paris-based Barry Rogliano Salles acted as a broker, detailed designs were completed by Finland's Deltamarin and the construction was carried out in China. Global Mercy is classified by Lloyd's Register in the UK and sails under the Maltese flag. Many more companies from around the globe contributed to the ship’s completion.

Volunteer applications are still open

Mercy Ships is ramping up recruitment of long- and short-term volunteer professionals to lend their time and expertise in this new season. More than 640 medical, maritime and programmatic crew will be able to live and serve on board with space for up to 950 on ship when it is docked. Crew currently come from more than 60 nations.

Information: www.opportunities.mercyships.org.

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