The world’s largest civilian hospital ship, Global Mercy, attracted large crowds as she arrived in Antwerp after completing its maiden voyage from China in mid-September 2021.
The ship, part of a growing fleet from international development charity Mercy Ships, was built in China, and is now in the equipping phase in Antwerp, where she will be further prepared and crewed to save lives through surgery in Africa.
Global Mercy received a warm welcome as she arrived in Belgium, with ship spotters gathered out in force to see the 174m-long purpose-built hospital and training ship make its arrival.
The Port of Antwerp has waived berth and docking fees for the next six months while the ship is fitted with first-class medical equipment by professional volunteers.
The state-of-the-art hospital ship, which was built by Stena RoRo, departed the China State Shipbuilding Corporation shipyard, where construction completed at the end of July.
She was then granted free passage through the Suez Canal on its way to Europe, stopping in Malta to be registered.
Mercy Ships UK Chief Executive Officer Joanne Balaam, said, “Global Mercy arriving in Antwerp is a momentous landmark in her incredible journey. With our volunteer crew bringing decades of experience from across the world, the Global Mercy is equipped with world-class medical technology to meet the surgical needs of the patients who so desperately need help.
“Through the equipment onboard, the incredible volunteer expertise and ongoing training of local medics, Mercy Ships will be making a vital difference to the region for years to come, ensuring a lasting legacy.”
The vessel is 28.6m wide with a gross tonnage of 37,000, with the hospital area covering 7,000 metres and including a dedicated classroom/conference space as well as simulator labs for more effective training.
There are four hospital wards with 200 beds, six operating rooms, an eye clinic, dental clinic, and a pharmacy as well as the latest in world-class X-Ray, CT, and MRI scanners.
The auditorium onboard seats 682 crewmembers for meetings or education and worship events. The academy can seat 125 students so volunteer crewmembers can train local doctors.
The arrival of Global Mercy in Antwerp signals the beginning of a new phase of life-changing and community-transforming work.
The charity will continue to work with host nations to strengthen the local healthcare delivery system of the host countries as well as providing surgical care and a variety of training opportunities for medical professionals