The brand-new Global Mercy is the world’s largest civilian hospital ship, with a self-assumed charity mission in coastal Africa. On board, free medical care is provided to thousands of the poorest people. The purpose-built hospital ship has a unique design built on experience with its older sister Africa Mercy.
Two central decks are fully outfitted with surgery and hospital care facilities. The Global Mercy was built in China. It enjoys through-life maintenance support from numerous international maritime companies to sustain its shipborne humanitarian activities.
Medical services are carried out in designated ports along the African West Coast. The multi-national Mercy Ships organisation is largely built on professional volunteers. These crews spend up to two years on board, sometimes joined by their families. They pay for their own stay and are supported by their home communities onshore. Mercy Ships Holland operates from Rotterdam. It recruits volunteers, undertakes fundraising, and runs the overseas fleet logistics.
Global Mercy in Rotterdam
During its maiden voyage to Europe, the Global Mercy has paid a two-week goodwill visit to the Port of Rotterdam to strengthen the bond with numerous volunteers, corporate sponsors, societal leaders, supporting churches and individual donors. The hospital ship starts its African operations after completing thorough medical commissioning and training on board.
Global Mercy leads by example in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The hospital ship aims to remain operational in Africa for decades to come. Building on its anticipated impact, further fleet renewal and expansion is hoped for by Mercy Ships and their supporting religious, maritime and medical communities.
SWZ|Maritime publishes two in-depth articles on the exceptional Mercy Ships in its April and May 2022 issues. The articles are written by SWZ guest editor Martijn van Wijngaarden, who also wrote this short preview. The April issue is now available to subscribers in our digital archive.
Picture: Global Mercy en route to Rotterdam (photo Laurens Holthof).