Mercy Ships Receives Grant Award from the TK Foundation

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Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus Equipment Highlights Safety Training

The 16,500 ton Africa Mercy, operated by Mercy Ships is the world’s largest non-governmental hospital ship. Photo © Mercy Ships

We are excited about the acquisition of the new SCBA gear. We provide high-quality training to our crew members. And, with this latest model equipment, we aim to maximize the learning experience of our students.

Recently, members of the Mercy Ships Maritime Training Center, a part of Mercy Ships Marine Operations, assembled new Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) equipment. These vital units were purchased through part of a $225,750 grant awarded from the TK Foundation, a private foundation that supports nonprofit maritime and youth development projects.

Since 1978, Mercy Ships has used hospital ships to deliver world-class medical care to developing countries with limited available medical care. Providing safety training for crew is a high priority. The Basic Fire-Fighting (BFF) Coast Guard-approved course requires Mercy Ships to have 30 SCBA units. All technical and long-term crew members onboard the hospital ship must complete this course.

A self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) is a device worn by rescue workers, firefighters, and others to provide breathable air in an IDHL (Immediate Danger to Life and Health Atmosphere). An SCBA typically has three components: a high-pressure tank, a pressure regulator, and an inhalation connection. These components are mounted to a carrying frame.

The units Mercy Ships is now using were manufactured in 1990 and 1991 and need to be replaced by no later than 2014. In addition, the cost of maintenance and repairs of the SCBA units has increased exponentially. Since these units are no longer being manufactured, spare parts have become scarce and cost-prohibitive. This problem is now solved by the generous donation by the TK Foundation.

The new units were purchased from First Alarm in Lawrenceville, Georgia. Doug Nelle, Regional Sales Manager, came to the Mercy Ships International Operations Center to assist in assembling the SCBA units.

“We are excited about the acquisition of the new SCBA gear. We provide high-quality training to our crew members. And, with this latest model equipment, we aim to maximize the learning experience of our students,” said Marcos Dos Santos, Mercy Ships Maritime Training Manager.

The TK Foundation is a private grant-making foundation supporting non-profit maritime and youth development programs. The Foundation is named for J. Torben Karlshoej, “T.K.,” who grew up on a farm in Denmark and later founded the Teekay Shipping Company, now Teekay Corporation. “Evolving from the original “mandate” that has guided The TK Foundation, is the present strategy of investing in programs that: a) enable disadvantaged youth to maximize their capabilities through pathways such as education, training and life skills with a view to becoming self-sufficient, and b) promote knowledge of the seas and oceans, and strengthen maritime safety and security for the betterment of individuals, communities and the environment.”

Mercy Ships uses hospital ships to deliver free, world-class health care services, capacity building and sustainable development to those without access in the developing world. Founded in 1978 by Don and Deyon Stephens, Mercy Ships has worked in more than 70 countries providing services valued at more than $1 billion, impacting more than 2.35 million direct beneficiaries. Each year Mercy Ships has more than 1,200 volunteers from over 40 nations. Professionals including surgeons, dentists, nurses, health care trainers, teachers, cooks, seamen, engineers, and agriculturalists donate their time and skills to the effort. Mercy Ships seeks to become the face of love in action, bringing hope and healing to the poor. For more information click on or contact Mercy Ships Public Relations at

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Diane Rickard, Mercy Ships Media Relations

Susan Karlshoej, Program Officer, The TK Foundation

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Diane Rickard
Mercy Ships
(903) 939-7000
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