Feature, Freight News, Sea

Hospital on the high seas

[ November 11, 2021   //   ]

The global shipping and trading community once again joined forces in November to raise funds for Mercy Ships.

Vessel charterers, brokers, agents, owners, operators and others participated in the annual Cargo Day on 10 November which since 2016 has raised almost $4 million for the essential work that the charity undertakes, bring medical care by floating hospital to some of the world’s poorest communities.

This year Mercy Ships is outfitting a new hospital vessel in the Port of Antwerp the purpose-built, 37,000-gross ton (gt) Global Mercy.  When she goes into service next year, she will more than double Mercy Ships’ capacity.

On top of the capital costs of the newbuild, raised largely from private and corporate donors, additional funds are needed each year to provide direct medical services and operate the new ship which will have six operating theatres, six hospital wards, radiology, screening and admissions, rehab and outpatient care plus training facilities.

Mercy Ships already operates a converted rail ferry, the 16,572gt Africa Mercy which will also continue in service.

On Cargo Day and in the following weeks, charterers are giving cargoes (Mercy Cargoes) to participating shipbrokers who find vessels to carry the shipments of oil, iron ore, coal, containers, and other cargoes. These brokers, port agents and inspection companies then contribute 50% of their commission to Mercy Ships.

Pledges of money and address commissions are also very welcome.

Over the last 18 months, the shipping and trading industry has faced some very tough challenges, but at the same time spot rates in some shipping markets have reached 13-year highs.

Mercy Ships says: “It is hoped that this optimism will be reflected in a broader range of companies participating this year in Cargo Day, which since its launch five years ago has enjoyed support especially from ship charterers, brokers and owners.”

Heading to drydock
Dental unit beig cleaned