Mercy Ships Announces the Global Mercy, World’s Largest NGO Hospital Ship

Over 16 million people die each year due to lack of surgical care; Mercy Ships builds a response to this world problem for the future

According to the Lancet Global Surgery 2030 Report, an estimated number of 16.9 million people die yearly due to lack of access to surgical care.1 Over 93 percent of the population of sub-Saharan Africa do not have access to safe and timely surgery. As COVID-19 threatens the stability of already fragile healthcare systems globally, the need to provide basic life-saving care is greater than ever, especially in low-to-middle income countries. The Global Mercy will deliver a safe and clean environment to various African nations, providing help and resources from some of the most well-trained physicians in the world. Over the vessel’s 50 year expected lifespan, it is estimated that more than 150,000 lives will be changed onboard through surgery alone.

The 174-meter, 37,000-ton ship will have six operating rooms and house over 600 volunteers from around the globe representing many disciplines including surgeons, maritime crew, cooks, teachers, electricians, the host staff and more. The ship will also feature a 682-seat auditorium, student academy, gymnasium, pool, café, shop and library – all of which have been designed to accommodate up to 950 crew onboard when docked in port.

The Global Mercy will join the current flagship Africa Mercy, more than doubling the impact of volunteers and services provided by the charity. For more information about Mercy Ships, updates on Global Mercy or how to volunteer or donate.

Global Mercy description

Mercy Ships is committed to environmental sustainability

Ship Specifications

Length174 mGross Tonnage37’000
Breadth28.6 mDecks12
Draft6.1 mMain Engines4 x Warsila 6L32
with 2 x ABB Azipods

Who is in charge of what

Built byXingang Shipyard (CSSC) – Tijanjin, china
Project managementStena RoRo – Gothenburg, Sweden
Construction designDeltamarin – Turkeu, Finland
BrokerageBRS, Geneva
Surveyed byLloyd’s Register – UK
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Filtering & treating AC condensate water for technical use will reduce potable water use by approximately 50%

Ship systems provide reliable and efficient power, clean water, and air conditioning for the hospital and crew.

High efficiency air conditioning systems reduce total energy consumption by approximately 15%.


How is the electricity handle on the ship?

Energy-efficient LEDs in light fixtures Low sulfur marine fuels help reduce contaminants Sailing at low speeds between ports to reduce carbon emissions Complying to international (MARPOL 73-78) standards, with regulate what ships do with waste, oil, sewage, garbage and air pollution.

Are the pollutants coming from the Mercy Ships fleet contributing to global warming?

Mercy Ships currently complies with many maritime industry standards that regulate what the ships do with waste, oil, sewage, garbage and air pollution — one of which is the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships Maritime Pollution (MARPOL 73-78) standards. Additionally, to lower its CO2 footprint, Mercy Ships utilizes marine fuels that meet the International Maritime Organization (IMO) 0.5% Sulphur cap – which helps reduce carbon emissions. Additionally, the ships also sail at low speeds between ports.

How does Mercy Ships decide what parts of Africa need support the most?
Why do volunteers have to pay to be a part of The Mercy Ships crew? If they’re paying their own way, what do donations help fund?

Jim Patterson

Senior Consultant Marine Operations, Mercy Ships

What are the main differences in what can be planned into the ship compared with a conversion like the Africa Mercy?
What still needs to be done in terms of fitting out the Global Mercy after delivery from the Shipyard?
What technical innovation has been employed in line with moves toward decarbonization of the shipping industry?
What other specialist systems have needed to be fitted to the ship to make it a hospital (eg ventilation or power)?

The ventilation in the hospital is fairly sophisticated with special filtration in places as well as positive and negative pressure gradients, depending on the space, to control airflow in to our out of a space to reduce the potential spread of airborne infection.

The data network throughout the ship is very extensive but particularly in the hospital area to facilitate communication with different finds of equipment and the possibility to send information shore side for quick diagnosis where necessary.

We have incorporated a “Patient Veranda” on the aft end of deck 4 (hospital deck) where recovering patients can go outside if they wish.

Download the full detail on the Global Mercy

Global Mercy presentation


Work progress