Hospital charity credits Singapore-based bulker company for coming up with new ways to lend it support

The global shipping community has been a strong supporter of Mercy Ships, collectively donating some $4m to the hospital ship charity.

Besides donations, shipowners, charterers, brokers, port agents and inspection companies have all pitched in to lend their support and expertise.

Mercy Ships credits the industry as being instrumental in bringing to life its new purpose-built, 37,000-gt hospital ship Global Mercy (built 2021) that will double the impact of its medical programmes that provide free, life-changing surgeries across sub-Saharan Africa.

The Mercy Ships Cargo Day is a familiar event for many TradeWinds readers, but there are also shipping companies that play an active role supporting Mercy Ships in other creative ways.

Singapore-based Berge Bulk, led by chief executive James Marshall, is one such company.

“Berge Bulk’s long partnership with Mercy Ships is something that we are very proud of,” Marshall said. “We recognise that there are major gaps in healthcare infrastructure. That’s why we’re very glad to support Mercy Ships to bring trained healthcare professionals to places where they are needed most.”

Via a sister organisation — the Marshall Foundation — Berge Bulk’s assistance came out of the blue when foundation director Peter Kenyon called Mercy Ships UK’s trusts and foundations manager Amanda King in 2017 to discuss what support the NGO needed.

This led to a grant for the cost of the captain’s family cabin on the Global Mercy.

King told TradeWinds the fact that cabins that can comfortably accommodate families helps ensure that the hard-to-secure but essential posts are filled, and professional seafarers stay for the longer term.

Berge Bulk also sponsored the salary of one of its navigating officers volunteering aboard the 16,000-gt hospital ship Africa Mercy (built 1980).

This was the first time such an arrangement had taken place on one of Mercy Ships’ hospital ships.

“We were thrilled, especially as technical/marine crew are so hard to recruit and to keep for any length of time,” said King.

Earlier this year, Berge Bulk’s seafarers were involved in a fundraising event involving lots of exercise and sweat while raising money for their favourite charities, including Mercy Ships.

Berge Bulk is also awarding $50,000 to Mercy Ships’ African Crew Volunteers fund, which pays for the costs of African volunteers working on the ships.

King said Berge Bulk had funded Mercy Ships in new ways at a time when this was greatly needed. In particular, she stressed, the ‘loan’ of professional crew.

“This sends out a message to similar maritime funders of the different ways they could support Mercy Ships,” she said.

 

September 9, 2021 By Jonathan Boonzaier

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