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 April 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

WCI Applauds Increased USACE Funding

Today WCI applauded the leadership of Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Senate Energy & Water Development (E&WD) Appropriations Subcommittee

SoCal Beach Cleanup Could Take Months

The U.S. Coast Guard captain overseeing cleanup of oil spilled from a pipeline rupture that closed two California state beaches and fouled offshore waters near

MPC Honors Crowley for Tank Vessel Safety

Crowley Maritime Corporation’s petroleum services division has once again been honored by Marathon Petroleum Company (MPC) with its annual Elite Vessel Award, which

News

USCG Tall Ship Sailing to the Bahamas

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Eagle is scheduled to arrive at Berth 14 at Prince George Wharf in Nassau, Bahamas on Thursday, May 28 as part of its 2015 cadet summer training deployment.

WCI Applauds Increased USACE Funding

Today WCI applauded the leadership of Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Senate Energy & Water Development (E&WD) Appropriations Subcommittee

SoCal Beach Cleanup Could Take Months

The U.S. Coast Guard captain overseeing cleanup of oil spilled from a pipeline rupture that closed two California state beaches and fouled offshore waters near

Maritime Safety

Two Rescued from Vessel Aground North of Cuba

Two American sailors whose vessel ran aground approximately 25 miles north of Gibara, Cuba, were rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Friday. Watchstanders

Myanmar Finds 200 Bangladeshis in Offshore Boat

Myanmar's navy found a boat carrying more than 200 Bangladeshis, the government said on Friday, after the military chief said some migrants landing in Malaysia

Inmarsat 3rd Global Xpress Satellite's Launch Delayed

Inmarsat has provided an initial update on the launch schedule for Inmarsat-5 F3 (I-5 F3) following the failure of the preceding Proton Breeze M launch from

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Port Authority Ship Electronics Ship Repair Ship Simulators Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | 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: 0.2027 sec (5 req/sec)