Ebola Outbreak Delays Mercy Ships Sail to Africa

Posted by Eric Haun
Monday, August 18, 2014
Africa Mercy (Photo courtesy of Mercy Ships)

The Africa Mercy adjusts plans to bring hope and healing in the midst of current uncertainties

Collateral hardship from the Ebola epidemic now includes a delay for Mercy Ships, which operates the world’s largest civilian hospital ship in ports on the West Coast of Africa. Already with one canceled deployment to Guinea, where Ebola first broke out last December, the Mercy Ship now waits in the water with crew and staff, pending an end-of-August decision on field service in Benin.

The Mercy Ship was due to sail for the port of Cotonou, Benin, for its 10-month field service last week but has delayed that sail pending further assessment due to the virulence of the outbreak in neighboring Nigeria.  Earlier, in April, Mercy Ships made the difficult decision to cancel the hospital ship’s planned deployment to Guinea, where the Ebola outbreak began last December.

Currently docked in the Canary Islands, following the vessel’s annual maintenance phase, the 16,500-ton Mercy Ship is designed to deploy specialized surgical expertise and educational support. It is unequipped to treat viral epidemics, according to the charity’s president and founder Don Stephens.

“Multi-bed wards and limited isolation facilities, close proximity to crew accommodation and dining for families and children are but a few restraints,” Stephens said. “We also hire 200 day crew in each port as part of our training and capacity building for Africa.”

Stephens said the organization is closely monitoring the situation on the whole of the African continent. “Africa is and remains our priority, but crew safety drives every decision,” he emphasized. “We request prayer as we consider all options to manage the risk, including deployment to other unaffected nations.”  This ship’s crew of 400 represents 40 nations, with up to 60 children onboard at any time.

Following the US Center for Disease Control recommendations, Mercy Ships has banned crew travel to Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria. Likewise, crew guests and day crew may not board the Mercy Ship for at least 21 days after they have visited one of the four affected countries.

“Mercy Ships has many, many friends in West Africa,” Stephens said. “In the meantime, our prayers go out to all those affected by this terrible epidemic, especially those in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Nigeria.”

Docking in an African port, the ship brings high-tech equipment, state-of-the-art facilities, highly skilled doctors, free specialized surgeries, healthcare training including instrument sterilization and disease prevention, agricultural training and more.  Mercy Ships provides many types of surgeries:  maxillofacial, plastic reconstructive, orthopaedic, and general.  The organization also offers dental care and eye care, and it works alongside local government and healthcare providers to improve local healthcare delivery systems.

Since the first arrival of a Mercy Ship in 1991 to Togo, 23 of the 35 years of Mercy Ships service have been focused in Africa.

mercyships.org
 

Maritime Reporter November 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

Transpacific Container Shippers Plan Price Rise

A container shipping organisation urged companies on Wednesday to raise Asia-U.S. freight rates by at least $600 per 40-foot container (FEU) from Jan. 15, corresponding to an increase of 26.

DP World: Shareholders Back EZW buy, London Delisting

Shareholders of DP World have approved buying Economic Zones World from its majority shareholder and also backed the port operator's delisting from the London Stock Exchange,

Maersk to Continue Russian Operations

Denmark's A.P. Moller-Maersk said its four subsidiaries with activities in Russia continue to operate as planned despite the recent sharp drop in oil price and the rouble's collapse.

News

Wrecked Bulker’s Bow Refloated, Scuttled off S.Africa

TITAN Salvage, Crowley Maritime Corp.'s Houston-based marine salvage, emergency response and wreck removal company, has refloated and scuttled the largest section of the wrecked bulk carrier, Smart.

Transpacific Container Shippers Plan Price Rise

A container shipping organisation urged companies on Wednesday to raise Asia-U.S. freight rates by at least $600 per 40-foot container (FEU) from Jan. 15, corresponding to an increase of 26.

DP World: Shareholders Back EZW buy, London Delisting

Shareholders of DP World have approved buying Economic Zones World from its majority shareholder and also backed the port operator's delisting from the London Stock Exchange,

Maritime Safety

USCG Commandant to Address PVA Convention

Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Paul F. Zukunft will attend the PVA Annual Convention at MariTrends 2015 in Long Beach, Calif. and deliver a keynote

Rig Moves: Mobilized for Performance

The operation of an oil field involves moving rigs or jackups in a maneuver referred to as a rig move. These complex operations require experience and the coordination of all stakeholders.

First ShipArrestor System Delivered in Norway

Following a full product trial in New Zealand, the Norwegian Coastal Administration (NCA) has signed its acceptance of the first of two ShipArrestor systems from Miko Marine,

 
 
Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Offshore Oil Pipelines Salvage Ship Repair Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1868 sec (5 req/sec)