Last week, NRB member Mercy Ships announced that its “Global Mercy™” completed deep-water sea trials, placing it one step closer to the new hospital ship’s delivery, equipping, maiden voyage, and launch into service to sub-Saharan Africa in 2022.
Mercy Ships uses hospital ships to deliver free, world-class healthcare services, capacity building, and sustainable development to those with little access in the developing world. The ministry’s ships are crewed by volunteers from over 60 nations, with an average of over 1,200 volunteers each year. Professionals including surgeons, dentists, nurses, healthcare trainers, teachers, cooks, seamen, engineers, and agriculturalists donate their time and skills.
The deep-water sea trials that the ship recently completed test the vessel during extended sailing time to ensure that all systems are fully operational and meet all standards and specifications.
“These deep-water trials represent a critical checklist for our new purpose-built ship to become the platform for service it is designed to be,” Jim Paterson, Marine Executive Consultant for Mercy Ships said. “Trials systematically test operational aspects by putting the vessel through paces for an extended period at sea.”
Robert Corley, Mercy Ships’ Chief Operations Officer said that after Mercy Ships takes final delivery of the vessel, “Global Mercy” will make its maiden voyage to Belgium to complete several months of final outfitting and crewing. Medical equipment and IT systems will be installed while the ship is docked in Belgium before it is sent on its first voyage to Africa.
“I am pleased to say that the Global Mercy successfully passed every test,” Paterson said. “We are then left with some finishing touches in the interior, particularly the hospital area before we take delivery.”
The “Global Mercy” has six operating theaters and hospital wards for 200 patients along with laboratory, general outpatient, ophthalmology, and dental clinics, and it will be equipped with first-class training facilities to allow Mercy Ships to contribute to sustainable support of essential surgical and related skills for local healthcare professionals at docked locations.
The “Global Mercy” is the world’s largest purpose-built hospital ship and has received global attention since construction began on it in 2015. This is the first ship that Mercy Ships built from design to implementation. Other ships that Mercy Ships has used, including the current “Africa Mercy” were adapted from other purposes.