Kiwis set to test the metal

on the world’s newest civilian hospital ship

Whangamata’s Sinclair and Kathy Carter have been in deep water – volunteering their technical skills as part of the crew getting the new civilian hospital ship Global Mercy ready for delivery.

Deep-water sea trials have been completed and form one of the final milestones in the countdown to the Global Mercy fit-out, maiden voyage and launch into service – providing free healthcare services to communities in sub-Saharan Africa in 2022. As Second Engineer, Sinclair has intimate knowledge of this important milestone in the hospital ship’s deployment as a healthcare service platform for sub-Saharan Africa. Carter explains, ‘Sea trials are designed to test all safety, communications, navigational and engineering systems in the presence of the ship surveyor from Lloyds. It tests key scenarios designed to mirror actual situations that might arise during the life of the vessel. It is undertaken to ensure a ship is fit for purpose and it is an important milestone.’

Being on the Global Mercy is a real privilege,’ says Carter. ‘The ship is a beauty! She is so spacious and runs so quietly you wouldn’t even know you were on a ship. I’m impressed with the advanced automation of the engineering systems; much attention has been paid to minimising the environmental impact so all waste is recycled on the ship. It’s all designed to ensure we don’t burden the African countries that we serve.’

‘I am pleased to say that the Global Mercy successfully passed every test,’ states Jim Paterson, Marine Executive Consultant for Mercy Ships. ‘We are then left with some finishing touches in the interior, particularly the hospital area before we take delivery.’

Sinclair Carter and Chief Irik Mallie in the engine room during Sea Trials.

Kathy adds, ‘We are now equipping the Global Mercy to sail to Antwerp, Belgium so that the hospital can be outfitted and many other areas fully equipped to function.’

Sinclair reflects, ‘A highlight of my experience here so far has been the great community and feeling of camaraderie within the team. Everyone is so dedicated, and focused on getting this ship to Europe for outfitting of the hospital – so we can get to Africa where we are most needed. It makes me proud to be part of it all! ‘

In Europe the Global Mercy will complete several months of final outfitting including installation of medical equipment and IT systems as well as stocking the vessel with supplies. Most importantly, several hundred international crew volunteers will embark on the ship’s first sail to Africa, including a number of New Zealanders.

The Global Mercy and her crew will depart from Rotterdam for the ship’s first voyage to Africa, arriving early 2022 at the start of the ship’s first field service in Senegal.

The purpose-designed hospital decks consist of an Intensive Care Unit provided by New Zealand donors, six operating theatres and hospital wards for 200 patients, laboratory, general outpatient, ophthalmology and dental clinics.  The Global Mercy has space for 641 crew, and is especially equipped with first-class training facilities to allow Mercy Ships to contribute to the sustainable support of essential surgical and related skills for local healthcare professionals when docked.

Kathy Carter, technical administrator, with the Global Mercy Captain and officers during Sea Trials

Mercy Ships expects to more than double the charity’s current impact, with both life-changing surgeries and training of healthcare professions, during the anticipated 50-year lifespan of the vessel.

This new vessel is the first ship built from design to implementation by the charity as all previous ships were adapted from other purposes.  The Global Mercy will join the current Mercy Ship, Africa Mercy in service to sub-Saharan and Central Africa.

The world’s largest non-governmental hospital ship Global Mercy has passed Sea Trials, and the crew prepares for the first voyage

The Global Mercy is a tailored Passenger Ship-class vessel with a design draft of 6.15 meters and a service speed of 12 knots, length of 174-meters, a beam of 28.6 meters, with a Gross Tonnage of 37,000, As the first of its kind, the ship has undergone construction at Tianjin Xingang Shipyard, with project management by Stena RoRo AB of Gothenburg, Sweden, and construction design by Deltamarin of Turku, Finland. The French ship brokerage company Barry Rogliano Salles (BRS) was instrumental in helping negotiate the contract. The new ship is classed by Lloyd’s Register in the UK who was in attendance to witness these important tests.  The Global Mercy is flagged by Malta and will initially serve within Africa.  More about Global Mercy 

maritime, medical and general volunteer roles with Mercy Ships


Mercy Ships uses hospital ships to deliver free, world-class healthcare services, capacity building, and sustainable development to those with little access in the developing world. Founded in 1978 by Don and Deyon Stephens, Mercy Ships has worked in more than 55 developing countries, providing services valued at more than $1.7 billion and directly benefitting more than 2.8 million people. Our ships are crewed by volunteers from over 60 nations, with an average of over 1,200 volunteers each year. Professionals including surgeons, dentists, nurses, healthcare trainers, teachers, cooks, seamen, engineers, and agriculturalists donate their time and skills. With 16 national offices and an Africa Bureau, Mercy Ships seeks to transform individuals and serve nations one at a time. For more information click on



Since 1977, Stena RoRo has led the development of new RoRo and RoRo-passenger concepts (RoPax). We specialize in custom-built vessels, as well as standardized RoRo and RoPax ships. The company leases about fifteen vessels to operators worldwide, both to other Stena companies and third parties. Stena RoRo specializes above all in applying its technical expertise to the design and production of new ships and the conversion of existing ships for delivering tailored transport solutions to its customers. We call this “Stenability”. Since 2013, we have been responsible for the design and construction of the Mercy Ships new hospital vessel the Global Mercy – the world’s largest civilian hospital ship.