COVID-19 Safety Onboard a Mercy Ship

Covid-19 safety onboard the Africa Mercy

Review our COVID-19 FAQs to Learn More

Any prospective or returning crew looking for further information can visit our FAQ page to learn more.

As Mercy Ships prepares to return our fleet to Africa, we’re also in the process of staffing both of our ships with an international crew. Our lifesaving, life-changing work wouldn’t be possible without incredible volunteers coming from around the world to serve onboard.

Of course, we have had to adapt life onboard our ships to ensure we can return to our work in Africa while protecting the health and safety of everyone onboard. Here are some of the key measures we’re taking to keep our community safe in light of COVID-19.

Community Life Aboard Our Vessel

Community is a major part of life onboard our ships. After a particularly isolating and challenging year for many, we’re thrilled that our ships can be a place of connection and purpose for our international crew once again. We have taken several different steps to foster a vibrant community while still facilitating social distancing.

Some of these changes include:

  • Limiting our cabin capacities to a maximum of four people per cabin.
  • Eliminating self-service in the dining rooms and instead offering plating and service from the dining room staff.
  • Implementing social distancing practices in our dining room and cafe areas.
  • Requiring that all persons onboard the ships wear masks in public spaces.
  • Encouraging regular and thorough hand-washing and hand sanitization.

There will still be plenty of opportunities to engage with others and relax a safe, socially distanced way. Crew will be able to grab a coffee at the Starbucks Cafe, browse books and movies at the library, and stock up on essential items at the Ship Shop onboard. There are also plenty of opportunities to get some fresh air outdoors, like Deck 7 and the pool and playground areas on Deck 8, as well as the dock.

volunteer Florence Bangura

The Woman Who Forged Her Way Through Walls: Florence Bangura’s Story

Florence’s journey from oldest to newest Mercy Ship came full circle when she met the Global Mercy™ in 2023, the same year that the purpose-built hospital ship began welcoming its patients on board. Today, you can find Florence, now 49 years old, down in the engine room as a hotel engineering assistant.

Dr Austin Demby

Transforming Sierra Leone’s Healthcare: A Vision for Safe and Affordable Surgery

As experts from the surgical and healthcare world gather for the 64th Annual Conference and Scientific Meeting of the West African College of Surgeons in Sierra Leone this week, a profound dedication to advancing surgical knowledge and practice in the region is palpable. At the forefront of discussions lies the conference’s pivotal theme: access to safe and affordable surgical and anesthetic care in West Africa. This theme highlights the pressing need to address disparities in healthcare capabilities and capacities across the region, especially the critical importance of equitable access to quality surgical interventions.

Mission Madagascar

The Africa Mercy Arrives in Madagascar to Bring Hope and Healing Anew

Freshly refitted hospital ship, the upgraded Africa Mercy® has arrived at the island nation to build on the charity’s longstanding collaboration and will provide specialized surgeries in various fields, including maxillofacial and ear nose and throat, general, pediatric specialized general, pediatric orthopedic, cataract surgery, and reconstructive plastics. 

Patient Vanya

Reuniting with Vanya, Years After Surgery

In 2015, in an operating room on board the Africa Mercy while docked in Madagascar, the course of Vanya’s life changed.
Years have now passed since Vanya’s journey toward healing. In the time since, her improved ability to walk allowed her to return to school, where she loved studying environmental science and learning about the world around her.

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