Africa Celebration 2022

Mercy Ships marked more than 30 years of service in Africa with a week full of celebrations in Senegal.

 First voyage of a dream built by our Shipping and Trading partners.

Global Mercy and Africa Mercy togetherGlobal Mercy is constructed as the very first purpose-built floating hospital! Momentous at the Africa Celebration, many years in the making, was when Global Mercy, the world’s largest civilian hospital ship delivered in 2021, made her inaugural voyage to Africa and arrived in Dakar.

The 37,000-gt Global Mercy joined the 16,572-gt Africa Mercy in Senegal for her first visit and the very beginning of her life of service. Visiting African leaders, surgeons, and partners will walk her decks, seeing the long-held dream become reality. And even if you’re not physically in Dakar, you can see it too! Enter the interactive Global Mercy Experience and navigate through the wards, decks, and cabins from your own screen. You won’t believe how much there is to explore. Click here to take the tour.

Hundreds of thousands of lives will be transformed through surgery during the ship’s lifespan, and thousands more medical professionals will be trained in Africa.

Senegal’s President honours Mercy Ships

Emmanuel, patient Mercy Ships
Mercy Ships’ 30-year partnership with Africa, and partnership with Senegal in particular, was recently honored in a truly special way. Founder Don Stephens was awarded Senegal’s highest honor: receiving the rank of Commander of the National Order of the Lion, which recognizes outstanding contributions. Other key members of the Mercy Ships community — including CEO Gert van de Weerdhof, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Gary Parker, and staff member Pierre Christ — were also awarded the rank of Officer of the Order of the Lion.

“I would like to express our thanks to Don Stephens and Mercy Ships volunteers and give the recognition that they are due for their work since 1990. In recognition of its 30 years of service to the beneficiary populations, Mercy Ships deserves to be supported and encouraged,” said Senegal’s President, H.E. Macky Sall.

Africa Celebration’s Dakar Declaration


President of Guinea-Bissau Umaro Mokhtar Sissoco Embalo speaks during a discussion of the Dakar Declaration in Mercy Ships newest hospital ship, the Global Mercy, on Monday, May 30, 2022 in Dakar, Senegal.

African leaders joined Senegal’s President H.E Macky Sall in the Global Mercy’s official inauguration, where they approved the Dakar Declaration, a strategic roadmap to improve surgical care in Africa and commit to accelerating access to safe, timely and affordable surgery in Africa by 2030.

Africa Celebration’s Global Mercy tour

A delegation of African leaders toured the Global Mercy hospital for the first time once it arrived in Senegal, celebrating the saving of lives that will take place within these wards. The new ship’s first assignment will be to act as a floating training center for more than 260 Senegalese healthcare professionals over the next four weeks so that they can go back out and teach others.

Africa Celebration’s Celebration of Hope

Senagalese songs ceremony Global Mercy
The week built to a special moment as crew, Mercy Ships leaders, partners, and guests came together in song and dance to bless the new hospital ship. The Celebration of Hope consecrated the newest ship in the ministry of saving lives.

Africa Celebration’s Torch Ceremony

Torch, global Mercy Africa MercyMercy Ships crew shared the flame from our 15-year-old hospital ship, the Africa Mercy, to the brand new Global Mercy. Using a handcrafted torch made from the wood of the Anastasis, the very first Mercy Ship, the ceremony was filled with homage to our history – and our mission for the future.

The first torch was lit on the Africa Mercy and brought down the gangway by Captain Djurre Jan Schutte, who served as the ship’s first captain when the last torch ceremony took place: “I remember how special that moment was 15 years ago, and now I have again the honor of sharing our flame with our new vessel, the Global Mercy.”

The torch was brought to the Global Mercy, where long-time volunteer Dr. Gary Parker used its fire to light the next torch alongside a crowd of more than 500 Mercy Ships volunteers, united in the mission to save lives.

Press Release

Emmanuel – baby boy born with tumor on his tailbone

When Leocadie’s baby boy was born, her joy quickly turned to anguish as she realized her son had a teratoma tumor growing on his tailbone, making it difficult to even know how to hold him. It grew larger day by day. She knew that it was only through a miracle he would grow up. Months later, Emmanuel’s miracle came. After a free surgery on the AfricaMercy, the tumor weighing 2.6 kilograms — a third of his body weight — was removed.

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