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New Hospital Ship Completes Sea Trials, Sails Toward Anticipated 2022 Service Launch

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The world’s largest non-governmental organization hospital ship has now completed deep water sea trials, one of the final milestones before its planned launch into service to sub-Saharan Africa in 2022.

The Global Mercy is being built by Mercy Ships, a faith-based global organization that provides surgical care to patients in low-to-middle income countries free of charge with the help of volunteers and charitable donors

The new vessel is the first ship built from design to implementation by the charity, which has in the past repurposed vehicles for its use. The Global Mercy will join the Africa Mercy in service to sub-Saharan and Central Africa.  

The ship’s hospital decks consist of six operating theatres and hospital wards for 200 patients, a laboratory, and general outpatient, ophthalmology, and dental clinics. It also will be equipped with facilities for training local healthcare professionals when the ship is docked.

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The Global Mercy has space for up to 641 volunteer crew members, and the anticipated lifespan for the ship is 50 years. 

Deep-water trials test a vessel for functionality during an extended period at sea, including engine performance and fuel consumption, navigation and radio equipment, emergency systems and speed and maneuverability, the organization said. The ship also underwent safety evaluations. 

“I am pleased to say that the Global Mercy successfully passed every test,” said Jim Paterson, marine executive consultant for Mercy Ships, who added the group will take delivery of the ship after some finishing touches on the interior. 

The ship will then make its maiden voyage to Belgium to complete several months of final outfitting, including the installation of medical equipment and IT systems. It will be stocked with supplies from the Mercy Ships European Distribution Center in the Netherlands. 

The ship was constructed at Tianjin Xingang Shipyard in China with project management by Stena RoRo AB of Gothenburg, Sweden and construction design by Deltamarin of Turku, Finland. It will sail under a Malta flag.

Mercy Ships said it plans to hold an Africa commissioning event for the arrival of the Global Mercy in Dakar in early 2022 at the start of the ship’s first field service in Senegal.

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Anne Stych

Anne Stych is a writer in Charlotte, North Carolina.