Newest Mercy Ship Soon to be Africa Bound

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Africa Mercy Successfully Completes Sea Trials

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This is a momentous day for everyone involved in Mercy Ships. Hundreds of people have worked tirelessly on this project over the last several years and we owe each of them a huge debt. Our focus is now to complete the loading of supplies and volunteer crew over the next few weeks in order that she can start service in Liberia.

Don Stephens, Founder/President of global charity Mercy Ships, announced today the world's largest non-governmental hospital ship, the Africa Mercy, has successfully completed 'sea trials' bringing the hospital ship one step closer to enabling the vessel to sail to Africa.

The former Danish rail ferry has been converted into a state-of-the-art hospital ship that will provide free health care and community development services to Africa's forgotten poor. The initial field service is targeted for Liberia, West Africa.

The 'sea trials' took place in the North Sea under the supervision of Bureau Veritas - an international marine certification organization. All systems onboard were checked and the trials took approximately 24 hours, led by the ship's Captain and his technical crew.

The Africa Mercy will sail to Blyth for another four weeks where hospital supplies and materials will be loaded in preparation for her first field service where more than 400 volunteer Mercy Ships crew will provide free medical care, capacity building, relief aid and community development programs to the people of war-torn Liberia.

The Africa Mercy is the fourth ship to be operated by global charity Mercy Ships, which has provided more than $600 million worth of services to date.

Don Stephens, Founder/President of Mercy Ships, said: "Every ship has life savers, but this ship is a life saver in itself to thousands who wait for her arrival in Africa. Without this ship so many of the poorest of the poor face lives without hope. This huge hospital ship docked in an African port is a strong symbol of hope."

Mike Ullman, Chairman Mercy Ships International said: "This is a momentous day for everyone involved in Mercy Ships. Hundreds of people have worked tirelessly on this project over the last several years and we owe each of them a huge debt. Our focus is now to complete the loading of supplies and volunteer crew over the next few weeks in order that she can start service in Liberia."

The crew on the Africa Mercy will consist of volunteer professionals from around the world. Doctors, dentists, nurses, community developers, teachers, cooks, seamen, engineers, and many others have signed up to donate their time and skills to the effort.

1Mercy Ships is the leader in using hospital ships to deliver free world-class health care services to the poor. Founded in 1978 by Don and Deyon Stephens, Mercy Ships brings hope and healing to the poor in developing nations.

Mercy Ships has performed more than 1.5 million services, with a value of $600 million US and impacted over 1.7 million lives. Statistics include: treating more than 300,000 people in village medical clinics, performing 18,000 surgeries, 110,000 dental treatments and completing close to 350 construction and agriculture projects, including schools, clinics, orphanages and water wells. Each year more than 1,600 short-term volunteers serve with Mercy Ships.

The story of Mercy Ships is told in Ships of Mercy, published by Hodder & Stoughton UK and Thomas Nelson US and is available at: http://www.shipsofmercy.org.

For further information, please visit: http://www.mercyships.org

High res photos available on http://www.mercyshipsnewsroom.org/

For further information, contact:

MERCY SHIPS
Glenn Price
VP, Communications
PH: (903) 939-7000
E-mail: priceg @ mercyships.org
Web:    http://www.mercyships.org

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