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Health care engineers play a crucial on board our hospital ships

On board each hospital ship, hundreds of medical volunteers staff the operating theatres, wards, and auxiliary services that provide a complete surgical package – from admission to rehabilitation – for people living in extreme poverty in sub-Saharan Africa.

Your biomedical expertise is needed on the world’s largest civilian hospital ships. The Global Mercy joins the Africa Mercy as floating surgical training hospitals providing free essential surgery for Sub-Saharan Africa’s most vulnerable and marginalised people. 

Concurrently, Mercy Ships provides training courses to upskill local workers, including bio medical technicians. We’re committed to strengthening local health care engineering capacity for long after the ship departs.

The volunteer Mercy Ships crew is committed to accelerating access to safe, timely and affordable surgery in sub-Saharan Africa and we need YOUR hands on deck to make it happen.

If you are looking for an inspiring mission to invest your professional skills and personal experience in, volunteering on board may be your next adventure.

We know how important it is that medical equipment is well maintained, properly configured, and safely functional. We care for our patients and crew, and you can help us in our mission to bring safe surgical care to our host nations.

Maybe you have long service leave due, or are you looking for a sustainable way to invest your technical skills that will bring real change? 

Join the hundreds of medics  from all walks of life and across the globe, who are making a life-transforming difference. Use your professional skills to help serve the marginalised in sub-Saharan Africa, with Mercy Ships.

If you have two years health care engineering experience and have the heart to help the vulnerable, then volunteering on board the world’s largest civilian hospital ships may be the next meaningful career move you make. 

The hospital ships’ cutting-edge equipment is familiar to those working in a New Zealand or OECD health care context.

Biomedical technician role details

The Biomedical Technician performs preventative maintenance of medical equipment and other scheduled services as directed by the Senior Biomedical Technician. The Biomed Technicians onboard solve practical problems and deal with situations where only limited standardisation exists.

Minimum volunteer period: Six months 

Requirements: Currently registered and practicing, with two years of experience

Health care engineering opportunities on board

Biomedical Technician

Preferred Minimum Commitment: 6 mths

Biomedical Project Asst

Preferred Minimum Commitment: 4 Weeks


• Diagnostic repairs of equipment and systems                                                                                          • Documentation of repair activities                                                                                                              • Communicate with hospital staff regarding equipment status and proper operation of equipment                                                                                                                                                           • Excellent problem solving skills

No, all scrubs and equipment are provided by the ship.

All of our volunteers work with the local people to some degree. Some (for example, those who serve in the hospital) will likely have more direct contact, but there are opportunities throughout the week made available for crew to participate in during their time off from work. 

On the Africa Mercy there are 5 operating theatres supported by 82 ward and ICU beds. On the new Global Mercy there are 6 operating theatres supported by 208 ward and ICU beds.

Each hospital ship is self-sufficient, and all the required allied health care services are provided on board eg laboratory, radiology, physiotherapy.

About half of the Africa Mercy‘s 460 crew and the Global Mercy‘s  640 crew fill medical roles.

  • All volunteers must be over 18 to join, must be in good health with a BMI <35, and be aware of both the physical demands of living on board and in Africa, as well as any physical demands of the role for which they want to join. For example, our volunteers may be required to sleep in a bunk-bed, sharing a cabin with other volunteers of the same gender.
  • The ship has multiple decks, and crew members could climb about 30 flights of stairs per day.
  • A married person can serve up to three months without their spouse. 



Mercy Ships is an international humanitarian organisation based on Christian values. Our mission is to improve access to health care in low-income nations. 

By deploying the world’s two largest non-governmental hospital ships, the Africa Mercy and the Global Mercy, Mercy Ships works with host countries to help them improve their health care systems.

Each year, more than 1,200 volunteers from over 60 nations donate their time and resources to support the Mercy Ships vision.

Mercy Ships’ surgical specialties include maxillofacialplastic reconstructiveorthopaedic, ophthalmic, general, and gynecological (obstetric fistula) surgery.

Simultaneously, we provide training and mentoring to upskill local health professionals, strengthening the host nation’s health care capacity. 

I love talking to people about finding their fit on board, and I’m here to answer your questions about volunteering.