A Chief Officer serving Africa nations onboard our ship with his family.

According to the International Chamber of Shipping an estimated 1,647,500 seafarers are serving on merchant ships trading internationally.

Mercy Ships has an average of 1,300 volunteer crew, from more than 50 nations, serving each year onboard the Africa Mercy, the largest charity-run hospital ship in the world. Seafarers are the key workers who keep the ship operating and whose skills help transform thousands of lives each year.

On International Day of the Seafarer, we honour seafarers everywhere and take the opportunity to highlight four of our incredible marine volunteers.

Rodrigo Silva is our Chief Officer. Originally from Brazil, Rodrigo oversees deck maintenance, cargo loading operations, treatment of freshwater, and sailing. He also leads the fire teams–as well as many other things.

“One of the highlights of volunteering with Mercy Ships is that I can do what I know how to do and have my family with me. One of the cornerstones of seafaring life is that we are away and missing the things happening back home with the kids, with schooling, and being with your spouse. Being onboard with Mercy Ships is different; you’re able to be together. So you can work and, at the end of the day, walk back to your cabin and see your family. It’s unbelievably good.”

When asked if he would recommend working at Mercy Ships to other When asked if he would recommend working at Mercy Ships to other seafarers, Rodrigo, said without hesitation: “I would encourage seafarers out there to come. You can expect an inviting work environment and the satisfaction of seeing your work making a real difference to the lives of the patients we serve.”

Rodrigo Silva, Chief Officer

How to become a volunteer

Volunteer Opportunities as
Chief Officer, Second Officer, Third Officer