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Mercy Ships


Mercy Ships is an international Christian charity bringing hope and healing to the poor through free surgery, relief and development work and partnering with land based programmes to bring transformational health care.

All about Mercy Ships

The first Mercy Ship, the M/V Anastasis was purchased in 1978 she was an old Italian Cruise liner built in 1957, then called the Victoria. Since then various ships in the Mercy Ships fleet have served in more than 150 ports in developing countries.

Volunteer medical professionals perform surgery in onboard operating theatres. Teams from the ship give free dental treatment and run eye and orthopaedic clinics. They also provide personnel to work alongside local people to improve water and sanitation, construction and community healthcare. Mercy Ships offer medical supplies and equipment to local medical professionals, also offering training in surgical procedures, so after the ship has left, local surgeons can continue to offer surgery for cleft palate, tumours, cataracts and fistula care.

Today the Africa Mercy, a converted Danish train ferry now the largest NGO floating hospital in the world, is serving in West Africa. The ship offers a 78 bed ward, 6 operating theatres, CT scanners, xray department and can accommodate up to 480 crew. Over a 100 staff work in the ships hospital and many more offer support work to make the ministry possible. Everything a small town needs is found on the ship a bank, post office, school for children of the crew, a hairdresser, cafe, shop, adult training schools, housekeeping and hospitality departments and more.

Short term and long term crew are able to work on board for as little as a month at a time or for many years. Together the whole ministry continues as God faithfully provides finances, gifts in kind and personnel to meet Mercy Ship’s needs and to reach out with His compassion to the poor.

St.Thomas’ has a link with a UK family on board, Andy and Brenda Cole who live on the Africa Mercy. Andy is Chief engineer and has about 30 engineers alongside him, Brenda is in charge of Human Resources on the ship. There are about 50 UK volunteers working on the Africa Mercy.

In the UK we have a national office in Stevenage. From here a container leaves every four to six weeks with supplies from the ship. A Speakers Network operates throughout the country to present Mercy Ships information to various groups, organisation and churches.

In the years to come we hope to have more ships to serve a greater area of need.