If you are looking for a new adventure, maybe Mercy Ships has the answer.

The operator of the world’s largest civilian hospital vessel is seeking chief, second and third officers to join its crew.

Age is not an issue, as many volunteers have already enjoyed a career at sea but still feel they have something to offer — in this case, helping provide much-needed free medical care to the poor.

Mercy Ships’ 16,572-gt Africa Mercy (built 1980) left Las Palmas in Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands on 5 August for the seven-day journey to Guinea, West Africa, where it will begin its latest field service.

Strapped to the top deck were 25 vehicles — sturdy, rough-terrain four-wheel-drives that are vital wherever Mercy Ships has been in Africa.

During the ship’s previous field service in Cameroon, vehicles covered 395,000 kilometres (245,440 miles) transporting patients and to help with the charity’s medical capacity training programme.

Mercy Ships says the “trusty trucks” are certainly worth the deck space. Around 450 volunteers — nurses, surgeons, dentists, schoolteachers and catering and administrative workers — are onboard the Africa Mercy at any one time.

But as Mercy Ships Global executive director Bryce Wagner has told TradeWinds in the past: “It is much easier to get a nurse to come than a chief engineer.”

The Africa Mercy was in Gran Canaria for annual maintenance after 10 months in Cameroon, which campaigns director Sarah Balser described as its “biggest venture yet”.

After the ship arrives in Guinea, initial patient screening days will begin on 20 August, with a secondary screening programme scheduled for 22 to 24 August.

Wards on the ship open on 3 September, with the first surgeries scheduled for the next day.

The cost of the various programmes on the Africa Mercy and general vessel operating expenses come to around $16m per year.

TradeWinds continues to partner the charity in its annual Cargo Day fundraising involving the shipping industry, which is scheduled for 3 October.

Last year, $672,341 was raised thanks to participation by 24 charterers, 20 shipowners, 24 shipbrokerages, seven port agents and nine service companies.

For more information on volunteering, visit apply.mercyships.org


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August 17th, 2018 by Geoff Garfield


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