World’s largest civilian hospital ship sets sail

By Jack Burke29 June 2021

Will provide care to Africa

The world’s largest civilian hospital ship, the Global Mercy, was delivered to the charity organization Mercy Ships by Stena RoRo, which has been working with the global project since 2013.

The maiden voyage will be to Europe where the Global Mercy will be further outfitted before continuing to Senegal for her first contribution to Mercy Ship’s work in providing life-changing healthcare to the world’s poorest.

The Global Mercy was built at the Tianjin Xingang shipyard in northern China under the project management of Stena RoRo.

Stena RoRo has delivered the world’s largest civilian hospital vessel, the Global Mercy.

“We are very proud to take delivery of this special ship,” says Per Westling, managing director for Stena RoRo. “The activities to be carried out on board have placed certain special and stringent demands on shipbuilding. For the shipyard, it was the first time they had built a vessel of this type – a challenge they have managed extremely well. For Mercy Ships, the delivery means that their capacity to provide care has more than doubled, and at Stena RoRo we are happy to be a part of their fantastic work through the construction of the Global Mercy.”

ABB said its Azipod propulsion will help Global Mercy enter less accessible harbors off the African coast, while reducing vibrations and noise – crucial to the comfort of up to 200 patients and medical personnel on board.

With about 5 billion people lacking access to surgical care globally, international charity Mercy Ships uses hospital vessels to provide surgeries and medical assistance for free to people who have little access to healthcare. Global Mercy is equipped with two Azipod propulsion units, as part of a comprehensive scope of electric, digital and connected solutions to optimize operation.

Additionally, the Azipod system’s design minimizes noise and vibrations, ensuring a smoother, quieter stay for patients and crew on board, the company said.

Global Mercy will be powered by four Wärtsilä 32 engines. Wärtsilä will also provide a five-year services maintenance agreement that covers parts, field service, asset monitoring, and full technical support to keep the hospital ship running at all times.

The Wärtsilä engines are double resilient mounted, and comply with the DNV VIBR vibration classification. This smooth running capability is of special importance for a hospital ship with onboard surgical operations taking place. The supporting maintenance contract is part of the company’s Lifecycle Solutions offering. It provides guaranteed operational reliability with performance targets determined from measured data. The measurable indicators can include, for example, availability, reliability, and fuel consumption. The agreed targets are reached through automated key performance measurements, optimized maintenance, and remote advisory.

Specially designed by Deltamarin, with Stena RoRo responsible for vessel specification and project management, Global Mercy will feature six operating theaters, hospital wards for 200 patients, general outpatient facilities, ophthalmology and dental clinics, and its own laboratory. The vessel is expected to embark on its first medical air mission to sub-Saharan Africa in 2022, joining the charity’s existing vessel Africa Mercy and thus more than doubling the capacity of Mercy Ships to provide free healthcare.

“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.”

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