Swedish-based Stena RoRo’s ‘Global Mercy’ project – the world’s largest civilian hospital ship – will soon be ready to leave the Tianjin Xingang shipyard in northern China.
Mercy Ships, the international charity that ordered the vessel, expects it to enter service by the end of 2021, after sailing to Africa.
Stena RoRo is responsible for the design, the contracting and the overseeing of the vessel’s construction. In addition to the Chinese shipyard, the project includes several European, American and Asian-based sub-contractors.
“We have applied one of our concepts on a ship from the ro-pax-class, which are passenger and freighter vessels for international voyages, and modified her into a pure passenger ship with hospital capabilities,” explained Per Westling, Stena RoRo CEO. “Instead of a car deck, we’ve built operating rooms and hospital wards. The ship will have space for about 950 persons with everything needed for both patients and those who work on board, including grade schools and nursery schools for the children of staff.”
Hospital operations have meant large and specific requirements, which have affected both the hull design and the layout of the interior. In addition, the ventilation system was adapted and a focus was placed on minimising vibration and noise.
The ship is also equipped with large cranes in order to be able to take on containers with provisions, vehicles and other equipment, as the ship will be used for long periods in port.
Mercy Ships has been providing medical care on ships for more than 40 years. With co-operative agreements with the governments of the beneficiary countries, Mercy Ships hospital ships are in a port for about 10 months.
Since 2007, the ’Africa Mercy’, a converted train ferry, has delivered free medical and dental care to the world’s poorest. ‘Global Mercy’ is the organisation’s first newly built hospital ship and will more than double the capacity of Mercy Ships ability to deliver aid.
Mercy Ships also contributes to the local infrastructure for medical care by training local health professionals. To accomplish this, ‘Global Mercy’ is equipped with modern training facilities, including equipment for virtual reality training and other simulated methodology for use in environments with limited resources.
“It feels very satisfying to be able to contribute with our expertise in this project, which will make such a big and important difference to so many people in the poorest parts of the world. Mercy Ships is doing a fantastic job,” Westling added, who visited ‘Africa Mercy’ when she was stationed in Madagascar in 2017.
After her completion due in the first quarter of 2021 and followed by the fitting of equipment in the Philippines, Mercy Ships expects the ’Global Mercy’ to arrive at an African port for its first mission in the latter part of 2021.
It was also announced that the vessel’s hull will be protected by I-Tech’s patented Selektope. She will be berthed for long periods at ports located in biofouling red zones off the coast of sub-Saharan Africa.
Philip Chaabane, I-Tech AB CEO, said: “The mission of Mercy Ships is vitally important for providing surgical attention for those with least access to medical care in Africa and I-Tech is proud to donate the Selektope required in the hull coating.
“Our fast-growing technology, with its heritage in the scientific research domain, is a perfect fit for this ship and its operating pattern. We are proud partners to the Mercy Ships organisation and grateful for the work they do to help humanity,” he said.
Tom Stogner, Mercy Ships CEO, added: “We welcome Stena RoRo’s selection of a Selektope-containing antifouling coating for the ’Global Mercy’ and thank I-Tech for the donation of their technology in support of our mission. The use of the latest technological innovations to safeguard the ’Global Mercy’ against biofouling when static is of prodigious importance to us.”
At 174 m long, 37,000 gt hospital ship is a one-off ship equipped with 12 decks, six operating theatres, 102 acute care beds and 90 self-care beds.
She can accommodate a crew of up to 641 volunteers, and additional space can host up to 950 people at any one time when the ship is in port.