MERCY AT SEA: LARGEST CIVILIAN HOSPITAL SHIP SAILS THROUGH FINAL TRIALS
Mercy Ships announced this week that the Global Mercy has now completed deep water sea trials, one of the final milestones in the countdown towards the hospital ship’s delivery, equipping, maiden voyage and launch into service to sub-Saharan Africa in 2022, Business Wire reported.
Deepwater trials are designed to test the vessel during extended sailing time to ensure that all systems are fully operational and in line with strict standards and specifications. Tests include engine performance and fuel consumption, navigation and radio equipment, emergency systems, speed tests, maneuverability, engine, and thruster tests as well as safety evaluations.
“These deep-water trials represent a critical checklist before delivery of our new purpose-built ship to become the platform for service it is designed to be. Trials systematically test operational aspects by putting the vessel through paces for an extended period at sea. I am pleased to say that the Global Mercy successfully passed every test,” stated Jim Paterson, Marine Executive Consultant for Mercy Ships. “We are then left with some finishing touches in the interior, particularly the hospital area before we take delivery,” Paterson added.
Robert Corley, Chief Operations Officer, confirmed that after Mercy Ships takes the final delivery of the vessel, the ship will make its maiden voyage to Belgium as a guest of the Port of Antwerp. While docked, the Global Mercy will complete several months of final outfitting and crewing.
This includes installation of medical equipment and IT systems as well as stocking the vessel with supplies through the Mercy Ships European Distribution Center in the Netherlands. The visit to Europe will culminate in a final send-off from Rotterdam for the ship’s first voyage to Africa. Mercy Ships also plans to hold an Africa commissioning event for the arrival of the Global Mercy in Dakar in early 2022, at the start of the ship's first field service in Senegal.
The purpose-designed hospital decks represent the unique heart of the ship, consisting of six operating theatres and hospital wards for 200 patients, laboratory, general outpatient, ophthalmology, and dental clinics. The ship has space for up to 950 persons in port including 641 crew, comprised of volunteers from around the globe. The Global Mercy is especially equipped with first-class training facilities to allow Mercy Ships to contribute to the sustainable support of essential surgical and related skills for local healthcare professionals when docked.
Mercy Ships expects to more than double the charity’s current impact with both life-changing surgeries and training of healthcare professions during the anticipated 50-year lifespan of the vessel.
The Global Mercy represents an international collaboration. With an overall length of 174-meters, a beam of 28.6 meters, with a Gross Tonnage of 37,000, the ship is a tailored Passenger Ship-class vessel. As the first of its kind, the ship has undergone construction at Tianjin Xingang Shipyard, with project management by Stena RoRo AB of Gothenburg, Sweden, and construction design by Deltamarin of Turku, Finland.
The French ship brokerage company Barry Rogliano Salles (BRS) was instrumental in helping negotiate the contract. The new ship is classed by Lloyd’s Register in the UK who was in attendance to witness these important tests. The Global Mercy is flagged by Malta and will initially serve within Africa.
As the world’s largest purpose-built civilian hospital ship, the Global Mercy has received wide attention from all over the world from the very beginning of its construction in 2015. The Global Mercy has a design draft of 6.15 meters and a service speed of 12 knots. This new vessel is the first ship built from design to implementation by the charity as all previous ships were adapted from other purposes. The Global Mercy will join the current Mercy Ship, Africa Mercy in service to sub-Saharan and Central Africa.