Fundraisers are hoping a seasonal upswing in the tanker markets will boost this year’s donations to the $1m mark.
Mercy Ships Cargo Day has been switched from 2 October to 6 November as organisers chase $1m in donations.
Since it started three years ago, the annual fundraising event has been staged in early October.
But with $1m within its sights, the organising committee in Geneva hopes to benefit from a seasonal upswing in the tanker markets by moving the date.
“The committee does not pretend to guess the market for Q4, but we all want to maximise our chances to break the $1m bar,” committee member Mathieu Philippe said.
Tanker markets are typically better in November than October, said Philippe, who is head of shipping at United Maritime Logistics and Socar Trading.
But Cargo Day should not depend solely on how the markets are performing, he stressed.
“We need more cargoes to start with,” he said. “So, please, mark the day in your calendar and let’s make Mercy Ships Cargo Day even more successful than in 2018.”
The event has raised almost $2m since it was launched: $314,000 in 2016; $673,000 in 2017; and $860,000 last year.
Charterers can pledge cargoes to participating shipbrokers, port agents and inspection companies, who donate 50% of their commission to Mercy Ships. Charterers and shipowners can also pledge donations.
All the money raised is used to support Mercy Ships’ medical programme in Africa, where the world’s largest civilian hospital ship, the 16,600-gt Africa Mercy (built 1980), is based.
About 2.5 million people are said to have benefited directly from the organisation’s free medical care. Some 450 surgeons, nurses, catering, administration and other staff work onboard the converted Danish ferry as volunteers.
May 15th, 2019 by Geoff Garfield