Mercy Ships Announces the Global Mercy

Mercy Ships Announces the Global Mercy, World’s Largest NGO Hospital Ship

Mercy Ships is unveiling to the public details of its new hospital ship under construction in China.

It is expected that during its 50-year predicted lifespan, surgical procedures alone on the 37,000 gross ton vessel will improve the lives of more than 150,000 people.

The ship, to be named Global Mercy, is at an advanced stage of construction by Tianjin Xingang Shipbuilding Heavy Industry.

When delivered it will more than double the number of people who can be served with free medical care in Africa, as well as increasing capacity for training local healthcare professionals.

Global Mercy, which will join the existing, 16,572-gt Africa Mercy (built 1980), will have six operating theaters and house over 600 volunteers from around the world—surgeons, nurses, maritime crew, cooks, electricians, teachers and many more.

The Global Mercy will join the current flagship Africa Mercy, more than doubling the impact of volunteers and services provided by the charity.


Global mercy graphic

Ship Specifications

Length174 mGross Ton37’000
Breadth28.6 mDecks12
Draft6.1 mMain Engines4 x Warsila 6L32
with 2 x ABB Azipods

Who is behind the Global Mercy

Built byXingang Shipyard (CSSC) – Tijanjin, China
Project managementStena RoRo – Gothenburg, Sweden
Construction designDeltamarin – Turkey, Finland
BrokerageBRS, Geneva
Surveyed byLloyd’s Register – UK
I want to participate
How is the electricity handled on the ship?
Energy-efficient LEDs in light fixtures Low sulfur marine fuels help reduce contaminants Sailing at low speeds between ports to reduce carbon emissions Complying with international (MARPOL 73-78) standards, will regulate disposal of waste oil, sewage and garbage, while minimising air pollution.
How does Mercy Ships decide what parts of Africa need support the most?

Mercy Ships travels to nations at the invitation of their respective governments. Before the arrival of the ship, we collaborate with the Ministry of Health to identify that country’s needs and to what extent we are able to support, reinforce and contribute to the improvement of their health system.

Why is it important that Mercy Ships continues to support our West and Central African partners amidst COVID-19?

16.9 million people die every year due to the lack of access to safe, timely and affordable surgery.

Healthcare systems have proven to be even more fragile and limited due to the pandemic. COVID-19 has collapsed aspects of health systems within even the strongest developed countries – despite them having more resources, access to clean water and widespread hygiene measures.

The situation is even more grave in the sub-Saharan region in Africa, where the underdeveloped countries we typically serve are in need of stronger healthcare systems now more than ever before.

We must learn how to live and continue to serve in a post-COVID-19 world. The health and safety of our crew, volunteers, staff and patients is our main concern – we will be as diligent as possible to avoid contamination and ensure adequate care is available – while still fulfilling our mission to provide free surgical care to those who do not have access to it and to build robust healthcare systems for the future.

How will this ship be different than previous ships?

Since the launch of the Africa Mercy in 2007, Mercy Ships has planned for another ship of equal or greater capacity to be added to the fleet. This new ship will more than double the ability of Mercy Ships to deliver hope and healing, while significantly increasing capacity-building and training potential

What types of patients will Global Mercy serve?

The Global Mercy ™ will have the capacity to serve up to 199 patients across different levels of care – including perioperative and post-operative such as radiology (with X-ray and CT Scan), screenings/admissions, rehab and outpatient care — at a given time. Accommodations for patients receiving care include acute care beds, isolation beds and self-care beds.

Jim Paterson
Senior Consultant Marine Operations, Mercy Ships

Interview with Jim
What are the main differences in what can be planned into the ship compared with a conversion like the Africa Mercy?

You start with a more or less blank canvas. Obviously there are always compromises – especially as the design matures and you need ever more space for things like HVAC ducting but the compromises are significantly less than in the conversion of an existing vessel no matter how good it is.

What still needs to be done in terms of fitting out the Global Mercy after delivery from the Shipyard?

The larger pieces of medical equipment, for example the CT Scanner, X-Ray, Sterilizers, Disinfectors, etc. are being fitted in Shipyard – anything that requires bolting down, hard wired to power or water/drainage. All the smaller items, and there are many of those, will be installed post Shipyard. Commissioning of the hospital equipment will also take place post Shipyard, including the Laboratory.

This is in addition to the usual pots, pans, dishes, cutlery, bed linen, etc.  Loading of supplies takes longer than a normal ship as well so that when the ship does arrive on location it is ready to go to work.

What technical innovation has been employed in line with moves toward decarbonization of the shipping industry?

We have tried to incorporate as many energy saving features as we can:

  • LED lights
  • Variable Frequency Drives on all but the very smallest motors for example. This means a fan or a pump does not have to work harder than it needs to thereby reducing the amount of energy it needs.
  • Waste heat recovery is employed wherever possible, in the HVAC system and then for the main diesels both from exhaust and cooling water.
  • As previously mentioned, the ship is designed with a relatively low sailing speed thereby reducing fuel consumption significantly at sea. The company, Selektope, have donated an additive for the anti-fouling paint that should ensure no buildup on the hull during our extended port stays thereby keeping the energy required to push the ship through the water as low as possible.
  • We have a fairly sophisticated waste handling system onboard for both solid and liquid waste to reduce discharge to a minimum

This is in addition to the usual pots, pans, dishes, cutlery, bed linen, etc.  Loading of supplies takes longer than a normal ship as well so that when the ship does arrive on location it is ready to go to work.

What are the next steps – and what is needed to get the ship into operation?
  • The ship has just completed her pre sea trial dry-docking.
  • Inclining test should be coming up very soon now as the accommodation nears completion.
  • Testing and commissioning is ongoing, particularly HVAC system which is quite a lengthy process.
  • Finish testing all the safety systems, fire detection and the likes
  • Complete the outstanding items
  • Sea trials including Noise and Vibration checks



Download the technical details

Global Mercy – Infographic

Overview of all the technical details of our new ship in construction

Download PDF
Timelapse Global Mercy

Newly-built ship under construction overview