Global charity Mercy Ships International is set to build a new hospital ship to serve the African continent, backed by anchor donation from MSC Group via its philanthropic entity MSC Foundation. 

MSC Group and MSC Foundation chairman Capt. Gianluigi Aponte, MSC Group president and member of the MSC Foundation Board Diego Aponte, and Mercy Ships founder Don Stephens signed the agreement to construct the new hospital ship.  

This vessel will be dedicated to offering free surgery and training to ‘thousands of people’ per year in Africa. 

Designed to house around 600 crew members and guests, the ship will have a hospital spread over two decks, covering an area of 7,000m².  

It will comprise six operating rooms, a laboratory, and advanced training facilities, including a simulation lab, enabling Mercy Ships to fortify surgical systems during its ten-month stays in port. 

The ship’s design will mirror the Global Mercy hospital ship, with an emphasis on designated training spaces to support local healthcare systems. 

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In 2022, Senegal President Macky Sall launched Global Mercy to expedite the availability of surgical, obstetric and anaesthetic care for the African continent. 

The move to build the new ship aims to bolster Mercy Ships’ efforts to deliver healthcare and medical training in the region. 

Expanding the fleet with this purpose-built ship will enhance the charity’s ability to collaborate with host nations on training and advocacy.  

MSC and Mercy Ships are partnering since 2011, with MSC Group providing logistical support and ensuring the delivery of containers with supplies to all service ports.  

The collaboration also extends to infrastructure support and logistical expertise from MSC’s teams in Africa. 

MSC contributed extensive technical advice and experience, working with Mercy Ships to develop a design for the ship. 

Mercy Ships CEO Gert van de Weerdhof said: “This new hospital ship brings state-of-the-art equipment and facilities to support the nations we serve.  

“This new vessel and her future crew will enable us to meet surgical needs while supporting host nations as they develop healthcare systems with their next generation of medical professionals.”