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Global Mercy: The world’s largest civilian hospital ship has just passed sea trials

Having just passed its critical deepwater tests, Global Mercy is now officially the largest civilian hospital ship in the world. After 14 years of planning, development and construction, this is a crucial step toward embarking on its first mission.

Built by members of Tianjin Xingang shipyard in northern China, Global Mercy has just proven itself capable of passing all critical performance, engine, maneuverability, emergency system, and fuel consumption tests, among many others. 

Showing great promise for its first mission in Dakar, Senegal, Global Mercy is first off for final interior touches, before delivery, equipping, maiden voyage and official launch. 

The Capacity

Capable of more than doubling the Mercy Ship’s annual medical capacity, Global Mercy is an incredibly impressive vessel. The purpose-built ship is 174 metres in length, has a breadth of 28.6 metres and a gross tonnage of 37,000 tonnes. 

The vessel comprises six operating theatres, dental clinics, ophthalmology, and general outpatient areas and hospital wards to accommodate up to 200 patients. The hospital also includes classroom and conference spaces for ongoing teaching seminars. 

Global Mercy’s overall capacity will hold up to 950 persons on board in port, including Mercy Ship’s 641 incredible volunteer medical specialists.

The First Mission

Global Mercy is set for its first mission in Senegal, Africa in early 2022.

This is a majorly significant mission for Mercy Ships, with initial planning dating back to 2007. 

16.9 million* people die each year from lack of access to surgical care, which is three-fold the number of people who die of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined. 

93%* of these people live in sub-Saharan Africa. After the devastation caused by COVID-19, access to already scarce resources has been further limited. 

Mercy Ships knew that tackling these tremendously high death rates required a far greater vessel and facilities. This sparked the plans for Global Mercy to join sister vessel, Africa Mercy, to provide the care necessary on a far larger scale. 

Before serving at its primary destination, Global Mercy will first visit Belgium for outfitting and crewing before departing from Rotterdam for its first voyage to Senegal.

In Global Mercy’s estimated lifespan of 50 years, it is expected to save more than 150,000 lives and enrich many more with its first-class training facilities.

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*The Lancet, Global Surgery 2030: evidence and solutions for achieving health, welfare, and economic development (published 2015).

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