A US-based global charity received around $51,000 recently for the construction what may become the world’s largest non-government hospital ship.
About 200 people attended the VIP dinner, coordinated by the Mercy Ships UK office and hosted onboard the charity’s flagship, the Anastasis, while the vessel was moored in Liverpool.
During the dinner, teenagers from the nearby Oakham School presented Professor Ian McColl, Chairman of Mercy Ships UK, with the final installment of £31,500 GBP (approximately $51,400 USD) they raised through a charity auction. They selected Mercy Ships as the recipient to benefit from their efforts.
The money will go towards the conversion of a 16,071 metric ton Danish ferry into the Africa Mercy, which will surpass the Anastasis as the world’s largest non-governmental hospital ship. The current contract cost is an estimated £16.2 million ($29.5 million) to refit the six operating rooms and an 80-bed ward. (The Anastasis has three operating rooms and a 43-bed ward.) The ship, which sits in a Newcastle dock, is set to launch in April 2005.
Mercy Ships hosted guests onboard for the VIP dinner to explain more about the global charity, whose volunteer surgeons provide free life-changing surgeries to people in developing nations. McColl gave a presentation to the mostly British audience, showing "before" and "after" images of patients in Africa and the Caribbean treated onboard the hospital ships.
Since 1978, Mercy Ships has operated a growing fleet of hospital ships in developing nations, providing medical care, relief aid, and training for long-term sustainable change.