Irik Mallie Starts a New Journey and Makes His Mark as Chief Engineer of the Global Mercy
The Mercy Ships community onboard our hospital ships is like none other. Our volunteer crew bring their unique skills and vibrant life experiences from around the world to serve the people who need it most. It’s about so much more than a professional title. It’s about bringing all that you are – both in and out of the workplace –to help those in need.
Irik Mallie is a dedicated Canadian volunteer who is making his mark onboard our newest hospital ship, the Global Mercy.
After 41 years in the maritime industry, most of Irik Mallie’s colleagues are beginning to retire. But this Dutch Canadian chief engineer isn’t getting ready to close his working chapter – he’s starting a whole new one.
It was a phone call several years ago that kick started Irik’s new journey with Mercy Ships, asking if he would be willing to serve as chief engineer onboard our new ship, the Global Mercy. At the time, the ship was under construction and not yet ready to sail. Irik and his wife, Cathy, thought about the commitment – and soon decided it was the right next step for their family.
“It’s a real honour to be asked to sail with the Global Mercy. I didn’t expect it – when I got the call, it was an overwhelming thought.” Even after decades in the industry, Irik had never sailed on a brand-new ship before. It was an exciting prospect, but one that also posed a unique challenge. “Normally, after this many years, you’re going into retirement and life starts to ease back. For me, it’s just the opposite. I’ve got to hone my skills and go right back into learning everything. I feel like I’m an apprentice again!”
It’s no surprise that a new ship means new systems, values, and processes – and a whole new learning curve along with it. Fortunately, Irik is embracing the challenge!
Irik has been volunteering with Mercy Ships for more than 10 years. He and Cathy — a palliative care nurse — had always known they wanted to be involved in humanitarian work but were focused on raising their four children while Irik worked for a ferry company. Once their youngest children graduated from high school, they felt the timing was finally right for them to leave home and begin volunteering. Their first service onboard a Mercy Ship was in 2009, where both Irik and Cathy used their different skills to pour into the community onboard. In 2018, they took the plunge from short-term trips with Mercy Ships and became permanent volunteers onboard.
Irik and Cathy are in the unique position of experiencing two different sides of our floating hospitals. In the marine engineering department, Irik is a part of keeping the ship afloat, while his wife works directly with the patients we serve. No matter where they’re serving, Irik is confident that every single volunteer onboard plays a vital role.
“Everybody has their own piece of the puzzle that is Mercy Ships. It doesn’t matter if it’s a chief engineer, a nurse, a doctor, or someone working in the galley – we all play our part. If one piece is missing, the puzzle isn’t complete.”
Thanks to his decades of experience in his industry, Irik has so much to offer the crew onboard. Passionate about his beliefs, he calls himself a spiritual leader in the engineering department:
“I take it very seriously. At the end of the day, I hope I’ve served and people around me can say ‘this man worked for the glory of God.’ I want to be a light in a dark world, just like our ships are a light of hope.”
When Irik returns home to Canada to visit with family or friends, he says he’s often asked why he volunteers. People ask him, “what is your driving force?” Irik’s answer is simple and poignant.
“When you come onboard and you see the work being done with the patients, and you see them walk off the gangway completely changed… that is our reward. It’s the driver for people who want to volunteer. You don’t do it for yourself: you do it because you want to make a difference in the world.”
As we approach the close of this year, let us take a moment to reflect on the challenges and trials faced by so many, especially those who have experienced profound loss. This season, while we gather with loved ones to celebrate, let’s also remember those who are still suffering, those who have lost their way, and those who have lost their faith in a better tomorrow.
During this holiday season, we invite you to join us in this mission of compassion, faith, and renewal.
Your generosity can make a real and lasting impact.
This Christmas season, let’s come together as a community of faith and support to bring restoration to people who have lost so much. Mercy Ships Canada is on a mission to heal and transform the lives of Children and adults in need. Your gift, rooted in faith, can make a significant difference in the lives of countless people. Your support will bring back smiles, health, and faith to children and adults who have suffered for far too long. Donate today and make this Christmas truly meaningful.
At Mercy Ships Canada, we serve those who have lost hope, bringing healing and transformation. Our volunteers, inspired by their faith, work selflessly to perform surgeries that renew not only bodies but also faith and hope. This Christmas, be a part of the miracle by making a donation to Mercy Ships Canada. Your contribution will help renew faith and offer a second chance at life. Together, we can make a significant impact on those who have suffered for too long.
As we approach the holiday season, we are reminded of the immense power of faith and the importance of giving back to those in need. This Christmas, you have the opportunity to be a beacon of hope, healing and transformation for those who need it most.
Your support this Christmas will not only change lives but also reaffirm the spirit of giving and faith. Join us in spreading love, hope, and healing.
Make a donation today, and together, we can transform the lives of people who have lost so much.
Our journey continues, and we’re excited to have you by our side as we embark on new adventures of compassion and change.
The last time Catherine Conteh saw the deeply familiar smile in front of her in Freetown, it was under dramatically different circumstances. Learn more about Aly’s act of kindness!