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Mercy Ships: Shining a humanitarian light in the darkness

Global humanitarian issues are pressing on every side and cannot be ignored. The shipping industry has the power to make a difference. And the time for action is now.

Mercy Ships is among key charitable organisations working on the humanitarian front line, running hospital ships that perform vital surgeries transforming the lives of thousands of people in Africa and other parts of the world.

The non-governmental organization, which is Nor-Shipping´s Charity of Choice, has now launched the next phase of its mission to bring free world-class medical care to needy African communities.

Its newest vessel Global Mercy – the world´s largest hospital ship – is now en route to Senegal on Africa´s west coast after final outfitting in Antwerp and will serve the continent along with existing vessel Africa Mercy that has been operating for the past 15 years.

´Hope and healing´

Mercy Ships, supported entirely by donations and staffed by over 1300 volunteers from around 60 nations, has to date carried out more than 100,000 operations to cure limb deformities, and remove tumours and eye cataracts – literally restoring sight to the blind.

Nearly 93% of the population of sub-Saharan Africa lacks access to safe, affordable and timely surgery to remedy life-threatening conditions that are easily treatable with the right care.

Mercy Ships has also trained more than 49,000 local medical personnel through its field services in 14 African countries to establish, empower and equip local health facilities to continue to carry out operations long after its ships have departed.

“Our ships bring hope and healing to the poor,” says Mercy Ships´markets development coordinator Arjen van der Wolf, speaking at its stand at Nor-Shipping.

“Funding and voluntary support are literally the lifeblood of our work that empower us to reach more people with life-changing surgeries and improved health care.”

Nor-Shipping director Sidsel Norvik says: “We are proud and privileged to support Mercy Ships as our Charity of Choice. Nor-Shipping provides a platform for Mercy Ships to spread the word in the industry and gain more support for its vital medical work.”

Recruitment effort

Mercy Ships is now looking to expand its industry network of shipping companies, shipyards and shipbrokers that support its logistical needs for equipment and supplies, as well as shipowners that provide financial backing.

Van der Wolf explains its primary mission at Nor-Shipping is to promote recruitment of crew volunteers, including marine technicians and engineers, that are vitally needed to keep its hospital ships running efficiently.

“Crew that are seconded by their companies to serve with us for a period of time can truly have an out-of-this-world experience that gives them a new perspective and a motivation boost when they return to their regular work,” he says.

Reinforcing this point, Mercy Ships´national director for Norway, Martin Aarflot, says: “Such a motivational experience can actually aid retention of personnel for shipping companies. In addition, it is an ideal opportunity to gain valuable training in development work and disaster relief, as well as be part of a multi-national crew.”

Check out this video to learn more about Mercy Ships´ work: https://youtu.be/sljzfMqAvhc

You can catch up with Mercy Ships at Stand 35 in Hall F. 

For more information contact:
Martin Aarflot, national director Norway
Mercy Ships
Email: martin.aarflot@mercyships.org
Phone: +47 924 11 295

Arjen van der Wolf, markets development coordinator
Mercy Ships
Email: arjen.vanderwolf@mercyships.nl
Phone: +31 (0) 6 4220 4992

Crew volunteers with the Africa Mercy during a stay at Dakar, Senegal earlier this year where around 1000 patients were waiting for operations after pandemic restrictions were lifted. Photo: Mercy Ships

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