ANTWERP – In the run-up to the International Day of Charity (Sunday 5 September), Mercy Ships is announcing good news. The Global Mercy, the newest hospital ship of Mercy Ships, is almost in Antwerp. Local citizens are being invited to line the river to watch the ship sail in.
The Global Mercy completed its journey through the Suez Canal and the ship is currently headed to Malta. The ship is in the last leg of the journey to the Port of Antwerp, where it will be further outfitted and crewed from September 2021 to February 2022.
The Senegalese and Egyptian governments facilitated the passage of the Global Mercy through the Suez Canal, so that the ship could pass through free of charge. This unique gesture allows Mercy Ships to save many thousands of extra lives in Africa in the long run.
Darryl Anderson, Executive Director of Mercy Ships Canada stated, “it was encouraging to our entire team to see that 17 Canadian volunteers have already made a commitment to be part of the Global Mercy equipping phase. Several of the individuals will serve as operations project assistants. There is also a group from Misericordia Community Hospital who will set up the Operating Room Sterile Processing area, as well as a nurse who will be part of the team involved in equipping the new hospital ship’s operating room.”
President Macky Sall of Senegal says: « I have seen and experienced with my own eyes that Mercy Ships is a wonderful organization that brings hope and healing to many African countries. 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. »
Port of Antwerp also made the arrival of the Global Mercy in Antwerp possible by offering a free berth and support. Volunteers from home and abroad will set up and finish the Global Mercy there as the largest private hospital ship in the world. This includes the installation of medical equipment and IT systems, as well as the supply and crewing of the ship for its first mission.
« This unique project is a highlight in the collaboration between Port of Antwerp and Mercy Ships. The social commitment in the port community is very high, so we are not alone in our support. 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, » says Annick De Ridder, chairman of the Port and Alderman of Antwerp.
Doubling of impact in Africa
The Global Mercy will be the ‘partner ship’ of the current hospital ship, the 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 the poorest countries in Africa.
During its missions, the Global Mercy can accommodate no less than 950 people, including 641 crew members, who consist of volunteers from all over the world. In addition to the hospital, the ship also has first-class training facilities with which Mercy Ships contributes to the sustainable development of local medical care in many countries.
The Global Mercy is a unique ship in the passenger class: 174 meters long, 28.6 meters wide and a gross tonnage of 37,000. It has 6 operating rooms, 200 beds, a laboratory, general outpatient clinics and eye and dental clinics. The total area of the hospital department is 7,000 m².
The ship was delivered and left the shipyard in China at the end of July, after successfully carrying out mandatory sea trials.
The Global Mercy will make a stop in Rotterdam for two weeks in March 2022 where the charity intends to make public visits onboard possible.
In the spring of 2022, Mercy Ships hopes to be able to start active service with the Global Mercy in Dakar (Senegal), the first of many new missions in the next 50 years.
(Photo shows the Global Mercy transiting the Suez Canal on the way to Antwerp. Photo by Mercy Ships/Emily Frazier.)