World’s largest civilian hospital ship nears delivery

The Global Mercy, the world’s largest civilian hospital ship, being constructed at the Tianjin Xingang shipyard in northern China is nearing completion.

Global Mercy; Image by Stena RoRo

Mercy Ships, the international charity that ordered the vessel, expects it to enter service by the end of 2021, after transport to Africa.

Global Mercy hospital ship
Global Mercy exterior; Image courtesy: Stena RoRo

Global Mercy is the second hospital ship and it will join Mercy Ship’s  Africa Mercy, which has been in service in Africa since 2007.  

Stena RoRo has been responsible for the design, the contracting, and the construction oversight of the complex vessel. In addition to the Chinese shipyard, the project includes several European, American, and Asian subcontractors.

“We have applied one of our concepts on a ship from the RoPax-class, which are passenger and freighter vessels for international voyages, and modified her into a pure passenger ship with hospital capabilities,” says Per Westling, CEO of Stena RoRo AB.

“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.”

The Global Mercy changing births after being painted; Image courtesy: Mercy Ships

Vessel specifications

  • Length 174 meters
  • Weight 37,000 tons
  • Breadth: 28.6 meters
  • Draught: 6.15 meters
  • Total area: 30,000 square meters
  • 6 operating rooms
  • Accommodation for up 950 crew and guests

In addition, the ventilation system has been specially adapted and focus has been placed on minimizing vibration and noise.

The ship is equipped with large cranes in order to be able to take on containers with provisions, vehicles and other equipment as the ship is to be used for long periods in port.

The ship will be powered by four Wärtsilä 32 engines. Wärtsilä will also provide a five-year services maintenance agreement. 

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The Global Mercy will more than double the impact of Mercy Ships on the African continent.

The vessel will provide a specialized training platform for African surgeons, obstetricians, dentists and anesthesiologists, including a simulation laboratory for surgical and post-operative care.

“As COVID-19 threatens the stability of already fragile healthcare systems globally, the need to provide accessible, life-saving surgical care is greater than ever. The Global Mercy represents a unique call to support the strengthening of healthcare systems in Africa on behalf of the most vulnerable,” comments Rosa Whitaker, President for Mercy Ships.

Mercy Ships said that it has trained more than 40,000 medical professionals, renovated more than 100 health facilities, and implemented more than 1,000 community projects in Africa over the past decade.