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 Today


The Maritime Industry's original and most viewed E-News Service

Maritime Reporter June 2016 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

Fundraiser Held for USS Gerald R. Ford Crew

Blackmer, a company in positive displacement and centrifugal pump and reciprocating compressor technologies, has a relationship with the U.S. Military that dates

Meercat Workboats Scores a Hat-trick

The U.K.’s Meercat Workboats says it scored a hat-trick; the Hampshire-based boat builder announced it is moving premises, that Seawork was a huge success and that

Northern Lights Opens Branch Office in Louisiana

Marine power generation and climate control products manufacturer Northern Lights has opened its fifth branch office, in Kenner, La, to enhance service to Gulf

News

Fundraiser Held for USS Gerald R. Ford Crew

Blackmer, a company in positive displacement and centrifugal pump and reciprocating compressor technologies, has a relationship with the U.S. Military that dates

Gas Plant Fire Halts US Gulf Coast Platforms

At least two offshore oil platforms halted operations on Tuesday in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico after a fire at a natural gas processing plant in Mississippi shut a

Meercat Workboats Scores a Hat-trick

The U.K.’s Meercat Workboats says it scored a hat-trick; the Hampshire-based boat builder announced it is moving premises, that Seawork was a huge success and that

Maritime Safety

Russia, US Blame Each Other for Maritime Incident

Russia and the United States gave contradictory accounts on Tuesday of an incident involving the two countries' navies in the Mediterranean Sea on June 17, each

Essberger Fleet Moves to Marlink’s Sealink VSAT Service

The Hamburg headquartered John T. Essberger (JTE) Group will migrate the primary communication systems of its entire fleet to Sealink, Marlink’s global maritime broadband VSAT service.

Silver Ships Delivers Fire/Rescue Boat

Silver Ships, Inc. has recently delivered a 34-foot custom designed and purpose-built all-welded aluminum fire/rescue boat to the Islip Fire District on Long Island, N.

 
 
Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Navigation Pipelines Pod Propulsion Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar
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: 0.1001 sec (10 req/sec)