Mercy Ships, which operates the largest charity-run hospital ship in the world, has announced the launch of its second annual Cargo Day on 4 October 2017.

Last year, this UK initiative raised more than £200,000 from ship brokers and dozens of shipping and freight-related companies around the world, with many agreeing to donate half of their freight commission on one specific date to support Mercy Ships life-saving medical work.

This year, the charity is hoping to smash that target, and is encouraging ship brokers to pledge money online ahead of Cargo Day through a new dedicated website: mercyshipscargoday.org.

Mercy Ships “floating hospital”, Africa Mercy, comprises five operating theatres, a radiography suite with a scanner and X-rays, a laboratory, a hospital ward with 82 beds and accommodation for the 400-strong volunteer crew.

Africa Mercy takes the highest standards of surgical practice to some of the poorest countries in the world where safe, timely healthcare is either unavailable or unaffordable to local people.

Globally, 32.9% of mortality is caused by a lack of access to safe surgery; therefore, the free, life-transforming surgeries that Mercy Ships undertakes such as correcting leg deformities, restoring sight, repairing fire burns and cleft palates, and removing disfiguring facial tumours is vital in helping to save and transform thousands of lives every year.

Having recently left the shores of Benin, West Africa, Africa Mercy will arrive this September in Cameroon, where she will be docked for 10 months.

Medical professionals often take leave from their careers to volunteer on the ship – such as consultant surgeons, nurses, physiotherapists, radiographers, laboratory technicians and dentists. Other volunteer crew members serve in logistics, medical supply chain, catering, cleaning, navigation and security.