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World's Largest Civilian Hospital Ship Delivered for 2022 Mission

world's largest civilian hospital ship
Global Mercy is the first vessel built to Mercy Ships' specs (Stena RoRo)

Published Jun 29, 2021 3:42 PM by The Maritime Executive

The world's largest civilian hospital ship, the Global Mercy, was delivered to the charity organization Mercy Ships and is preparing for its maiden voyage to Europe in its final step before deploying on its first mission to Africa. Built at the Tianjin Xingang shipyard in northern China under the project management of Stena RoRo, the 37,000 gross ton vessel was part of a traditional ceremony designed to bring it good luck before it departed from the shipyard.

"We are very proud to take delivery of this special ship," says Per Westling, managing director for Stena RoRo. "The activities to be carried out onboard have placed certain special and stringent demands on shipbuilding. For the shipyard, it was the first time they had built a vessel of this type – a challenge they have managed extremely well. For Mercy Ships, the delivery means that their capacity to provide care has more than doubled, and at Stena RoRo we are happy to be a part of their fantastic work through the construction of the Global Mercy."

The project to create this unique vessel began in 2013. Swedish Stena RoRo was responsible for the design, contracting, and execution of the project, while Barry Rogliano Salles of France served as the broker. Detailed designs were prepared by Deltamarin and construction was carried out at the Tianjin Xingang shipyard in China. The 570-foot long vessel, classified by Lloyd's Register, will sail under the Maltese flag and operate along the coast of Africa.

Under the command of captain Taylor Perez and a crew recruited by the Stena company Northern Marine Manning Services and flown to China, the hospital ship is now preparing to depart China. In the final phase of preparation for its mission, the vessel will first travel to Belgium, where over the next months she will be staffed with volunteers and have the last of the medical equipment installed. She will then continue to Rotterdam to be presented to sponsors, future volunteers, the media, and other interested parties. After that, the Global Mercy will be ready to sail to West Africa for service at Dakar in Senegal.

The fifth ship in the history of the mission, she doubles Mercy Ships’ fleet joining the African Mercy that has been sailing since 2007. As part of the NGO’s mission, providing free healthcare to the world's poorest. For the first time, Mercy Ships will have a vessel that has been designed and built for the specific needs of the organization. Previous vessels were smaller and converted from passenger or other operations into hospital ships.

The hospital aboard the Global Mercy covers two decks with more than 75,000 square feet of space. Among other things, the ship features six operating theaters, beds for 200 people, a laboratory, and an eye clinic. The crew and medical staff will number 641 and in addition to the onboard services, the vessel will also support shore programs including dental and medical clinics and community health education.

The Global Mercy is expected to arrive in Senegal for her first mission early in 2022.