Even as geopolitical fault lines become sharp due to tensions between China and the Western world, their noble collaboration in building the world’s largest civilian hospital ship to help the poor is nothing short of a silver lining.
The “Global Mercy” ship, the largest civilian hospital ship in the world, made its African debut on May 27 in Dakar, where it will train health personnel for four weeks, according to Chinese media CGTN. reported.
It is the latest participant in the Mercy Ship Charity program which operates the largest non-governmental hospital ship in the world.
The huge ship, built at the China State Shipbuilding Corporation’s (CSSC) Tianjin Xingang Shipyard in northern China, had many subcontractors involved in the project, including from Europe, America and the wider Asian region.
The ship is 174 meters long and 28.6 meters wide and has around 12 decks. He will remain in Senegal’s capital until the end of June before returning in 2023 to serve the disadvantaged and poor with surgical care.
Global Mercy is Mercy Ships second ship kind, ready to join Africa Mercy serving in Africa since 2007.
Senegalese President Macky Sall hosted the Global Mercy on May 30 in a ceremony attended by Guinea-Bissau President Umaro Sissoco Embalo and Comoros President Azali Assoumani.
The giant ship’s arrival coincides with the latest tragedy to rock the country and expose the flaws in the chickadee’s health system, crushed under the weight of pandemic-induced distress.
On May 25, eleven newborn babies were charred to death in a fire at a public hospital in Tivaouane. Noted News from Africa.
The crew aboard the ship plans to train 260 Senegalese health professionals while in Senegal, alongside the crew of the Africa Mercy, which has been in port in Dakar since February and plans to stay at least until in November to perform surgeries on board.
The Global Mercy will then return to the Canary Islands at the end of June for a “complete and final fitting out of the ship”.
Mercy Ships will return in early 2023 to provide training and surgical procedures in areas such as maxillofacial and reconstructive surgery, tumor removal, cleft lip and palate repair, obstetric fistula repair , etc.
Global Mercy — A Feather in the CSSC’s Hat
The design, contracts and construction supervision of the complex vessel were all handled by Stena RoRo, a Sweden-based company.
“We applied one of our concepts on a RoPax class ship, which are passenger and cargo ships for international travel, and modified it into a pure passenger ship with hospital capabilities,” said said Per Westling, CEO of Stena RoRo AB.
“Instead of a deck of cards, we built operating theaters and hospital wards. The ship will accommodate around 950 people with everything needed for patients and those working on board, including primary schools and kindergartens for staff children.
The role of China’s shipbuilding industry also comes into play, which was the “chosen one” to build the world’s largest civilian hospital ship, despite the involvement of other contractors.
China’s commercial shipbuilding industry – the largest in the world – has been engaged in building ships along its coastline for years. It has also acquired the capital and technological know-how to build increasingly sophisticated models of all types of warships through foreign contracts over the years it has been committed to developing its industry.
The “training wheels” are deactivated! The Global Mercy has passed its sea trials, and the crew of Mercy Ships is preparing the world’s newest hospital ship for its maiden open-water voyage!
— MERCY SHIPS NZ (@MERCYSHIPSNZ) May 9, 2021
“For the past few years, our team has grown to up to 16 members, stationed at the Tianjin Xingang Shipyard,” said Rikard Olsson, Project Manager and Stena Site Manager, who has been working on the project in China since 2016.
“For this shipyard, this is the first time that this kind of ship, which can be compared to a cruise ship, has been built. We worked hard to meet the required standard and everything went very well”, Maritime Executive reported.
After several years of construction in Xinjiang, the gigantic ship completed its sea trials in May last year. In sub-Saharan Africa, more than 93% of the population lacks access to quality surgical treatment, and the coronavirus pandemic has strained local resources. A civilian hospital ship with advanced features could fill the void enormously.
Global Mercy Hospital covers approximately 7,000 square meters and includes “six operating theatres, 102 acute care beds, seven intensive care beds and 90 convalescent care beds”, according to a statement from Mercy Ships, which works tirelessly to improve hospitalization. access to health care in developing countries in Africa.
The project started in 2013 with Stena RoRo, a Swedish shipping company, in charge of the design, procurement and execution of the project.
The broker was French Barry Rogliano Salles, BRS, the detailed design was carried out by Finnish Deltamarin and the vessel was built in China at the Tianjin Xingang shipyard. The Global Mercy will sail under the Maltese flag and operate along the African coasts.
Six operating theaters, 200 hospital beds, a laboratory, an outpatient clinic, and an eye and dental clinic are all available at the Global Mercy. The ship will have a total capacity of 950 people, including 640 crew members.
The ventilation system has been specially designed, with a focus on vibration and noise reduction. As the ship is in port for long periods of time, huge cranes have been installed to allow it to embark containers containing food, vehicles and other equipment. Four Wärtsilä 32 engines will propel the ship.
Amid news of global animosity flooding the internet every day, international collaboration to provide health care to the needy is a rather welcome development.