Senior figures from Stena Bulk and Teekay Shipping will lead a new US committee set up to promote Mercy Ships’ annual Cargo Day fundraiser. JR Gardner, general manager and head of crude oil and fuel in the US for Stena, and Teekay’s Eric Nagel, director of Atlantic aframax and global support services, have been working to raise support in the US for this year’s event on 3 October.

The plan is to grow the committee and rally even more industry support when Cargo Day is staged again next year, said Mercy Ships’ Russ Holmes, director of corporate development. A US panel to parallel the Geneva Cargo Day committee had been talked about for some time before it became a reality.

The aim is to raise a record $1m when Cargo Day 2018 kicks off next week. So far, about 35 companies are taking part — 13 charterers, five shipowners, 11 shipbrokers and six others. These include Total, Clarksons in Norway and Switzerland, Lightship, Vitol, Fearnleys, Galbraiths, BRS, Lotus Shipping, Petrocam Trading and Braemar ACM.

To pledge support for Cargo Day, visit to find out more about the full list of participants. Charterers can pledge cargoes to these shipbrokers, port agents and inspection companies who then donate 50% of their commissions to Mercy Ships. Shipowners and others can also donate money directly.

Last year, Cargo Day raised more than $670,000, which Mercy Ships said “represents the equivalent of helping bring new smiles for more than 8,900 children born with cleft lips”. The charity operates the world’s largest civilian hospital vessel, the 16,572-gt Africa Mercy (built 1980), which recently started a 10-month field service in Guinea. It began with a 17-strong team of volunteers, mostly nurses, screening potential patients to see whether their condition falls within the charity’s scope of practice. That has included screening for the Ponseti method of treating young children suffering from club foot.

On 14 September, Mercy Ships Hope Centre in Guinea opened for post-surgery patients able to leave the wards and continue their recovery. Various courses and mentoring program have also been launched as part of Mercy Ships’ efforts, in whichever country the Africa Mercy visits, to boost local people’s medical skills.


September 28th, 2018 by Geoff Garfield

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