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Global Mercy set for maiden voyage

Written by Nick Blenkey
Group poses in front of hospital ship

Ship was handed over at shipyard ceremony

The world’s largest civilian hospital ship, Global Mercy, has now been formally handed over to Mercy Ships in a ceremony at the Tianjin Xingang shipyard in northern China.

Gothenburg, Sweden, based Stena RoRo, which was also responsible fo the design and contracting of the vessel, is managing construction of the ship, which is set to make its maiden voyage to Europe, under the command of Captain Taylor Perez. Together with a crew recruited by the Stena company Northern Marine Manning Services and flown to China, he will sail the Global Mercy on to Belgium, where over the course of a few months she will be staffed with volunteers and have the last of its medical equipment installed. She will then continue to Rotterdam to be presented to sponsors, future volunteers, the media and other interested parties. After that, the Global Mercy will be ready to sail to West Africa for service at Dakar in Senegal.

Mercy Ships provides free healthcare to the world’s poorest. The Global Mercy has among other facilities, six operating rooms, beds for 200 people, a laboratory and eye clinic. The ship is the first to have been designed and built for the specific needs of the organization. Previous vessels have been built for other operations and converted into hospital ships.

Mercy Ships, whose work is based on the efforts of volunteers from all over the world, also contributes to the establishment of local skills and the infrastructure for medical care by training local healthcare personnel in the host countries. Accordingly, the Global Mercy is also equipped with first-class training facilities.

The Global Mercy, classed by Lloyd’s Register , will sail under the Maltese flag and operate along the coast of Africa.

Major suppliers include ABB, whose Azipod propulsion will help the 174-meter long vessel enter less accessible harbors off the African coast, where tugboat assistance maybe limited or simply not available. The Azipod will also redue vibrations and noise – important for the comfort of up to 200 patients and medical personnel on board.

“As well as offering comfort levels equivalent to a high-quality cruise vessel, hospital ships must provide surgical procedures on the basis of need, making it critical that vibrations are kept to a minimum,” said Per Westling, Managing Director, Stena RoRo. “In sea trials, the performance of ABB’s Azipod propulsion was even better than anticipated, exceeding expectations on safe return to port and offering smooth and closely controlled sailing.”

In addition to the twin 2.85-megawatt (3,821 HP) Azipod units, ABB’s scope includes generators, switchboards, transformers and drives, as well as bridge controls for the propulsion system and the ABB Ability Marine Remote Diagnostic System, which allows the prompt detection and correction of faults on board.

Once in operation, Global Mercy will receive round-the-clock support from ABB Ability Collaborative Operations Centers, which serve over 1,000 ships worldwide. From these hubs, ABB experts monitor shipboard systems, coordinate equipment diagnostics, and offer predictive maintenance services, offering global 24/7 technical support. This support is essential for floating hospitals, which require the highest standards of safety and reliability.

Global Mercy on sea trials.9Photo:StenaRoRo

Main suppliers:

ABB – Main propulsion system, generators
Alfa Laval – Plate coolers
Berg Propulsion – Bow thruster
Consilium Marine & Safety – Fire alarm system
Evac – Waste handling and recycling
MacGregor – Shell doors and gangways
Scan Marine – Supervision of installation interior in accommodation areas
Selektope – Coating agent
Wärtsilä – Generator engines

About the Global Mercy:
Length: 174 meters
Beam: 28.6 meters
Draft: 6.15 meters
Gross tonnage: 37,000 tonnes
Deadweight: 5,448 tonnes
Total area, interior: 30,000 square meters


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