Over the years, I have been a great admirer of the vital work which Mercy Ships carries out in the world’s middle and low income countries.
On World Maritime Day, September 27th 2018, Mercy Ships recognised the critical role of maritime crew in the history of the global charity and their future continued success. For 40 years, Mercy Ships has relied on maritime volunteers for the safe operation and maintenance of their hospital ships, safety of their crew and patients, and delivery and storage of cargo including needed medical supplies and equipment. To date, the unwavering dedication of maritime men and women has enabled Mercy Ships to provide over 95,000 free surgeries and the delivery of services and materials valued at over $1.53 billion in low and middleincome nations.
The world’s largest private hospital ship, the Africa Mercy, is staffed by 29 deck and 24 engineering crew. The vessel is docked in Conakry, Guinea for the next 10 months where crew plan on providing over 2,000 surgeries. After receiving free surgeries onboard, the patients leave physically and emotionally healed and transformed.
The technical crew get to see the transformations in patients.
“You see the patients coming, and their disfigurements are just horrible,” said Second Officer Eric Baliantz. “Some have giant watermelon-sized tumours on their face and others, their bones are all bent the wrong way. Some people are blind, and Mercy Ships works to restore their sight. I like feeling I’m a part of something that’s doing good work like that. Mercy Ships gives you the opportunity to be the best version of yourself.”
The deck and engineering crew maintain the ship and keep all its services functioning for the surgeries and the safety of the 400 crew volunteers onboard from 40 nations. The engineering crew literally keep the lights on for surgery in the five state-of-the-art operating rooms onboard.
Opportunities to volunteer are available at http://apply. mercyships.org and more information can be seen on the Mercy Ships Deck & Engineering Facebook page.