Mercy Ships New Ship Donation | MSC Foundation

22 APRIL 2024

Mercy Ships set to build new state-of-the-art hospital ship thanks to the MSC Foundation and MSC Group

Substantial donation and in-kind support will make sister ship of Global Mercy™ a reality, bringing Mercy Ships’ life-changing surgeries and medical training to new generations of patients and healthcare professionals in sub-Saharan Africa. 

Focus areas: Community Support 




The MSC Foundation and MSC Group have concluded a groundbreaking agreement with the international charity Mercy Ships International to support the construction of a brand-new hospital ship that will deliver free surgery and training to thousands of people in Africa.

With a significant donation from MSC,  the Chairman of MSC Group and MSC Foundation,Capt. Gianluigi Aponte, Diego Aponte, MSC Group President and Member of the MSC Foundation Board, and Mercy Ships Founder Don Stephens agreed to start the shipbuilding and outfitting project this year.

Commenting on the agreement and Mercy Ships’ work, Capt. Gianluigi Aponte said: “I spent part of my childhood and early years in the shipping industry in the Horn of Africa, it is a region close to my heart. I saw firsthand the challenges faced by many local communities there and this shaped my conviction that improving the availability of healthcare would bring real and lasting impact for them. It has been extremely gratifying to work with Don and provide this crucial support through his unique organisation Mercy Ships, our partnership has reaped extraordinary results already and now we are on the verge of expanding their fleet to increase this support. I truly look forward to seeing this new ship set sail to help more communities across Africa.”

Mercy Ships has provided more than 117,000 life-changing and lifesaving specialised surgical procedures since it was founded in 1978. These include facial reconstruction, contracture release for severe burns, correction for acute orthopaedic problems and cleft lip and palate repair. The pioneering non-governmental organisation also builds the capacity of local healthcare systems through sustainably-designed surgical education, training and advocacy programmes. Over the years, Mercy Ships has trained more than 54,300 local professionals in their areas of expertise.

Body Mercy Ships Donation| MSC Foundation

Don Stephens, founder of Mercy Ships, confirmed Mercy Ships’ vision for serving African nations with safe surgical care and education. “The investment of many around the world towards a fleet of hospital ships is ensured by the future of our new purpose-built vessel. The mission of Mercy Ships to bring Hope and Healing is only possible through the generosity of our partners and volunteer crew. Today, I am grateful to MSC for their support.”

Hospital ships require continual medical supplies, which are transported across the oceans to enable their surgical and training work. MSC Group ensures logistical support and container delivery of supplies to all ports of service. Its support in Africa ranges from MSC's local shipping agency and MSC and TiL terminals handling cargo to MSC and MEDLOG logistics, storage, and inland transportation services. In addition to this, MSC has provided extensive technical advice in the preparation for the new vessel, working with Mercy Ships to develop a design that will improve efficiency for the organisation’s needs.

Gert van de Weerdhof, CEO of Mercy Ships said: “This new hospital ship will bring state of-the-art equipment and facilities to support the nations we serve. This new vessel and her future crew will enable us to meet surgical needs, while supporting host nations as they develop healthcare systems with their next generation of medical professionals.”

Diego Aponte, MSC Group President and a Member of the MSC Foundation Board, remarked: “I have always been passionate about Africa and I was struck by the extraordinary and honourable nature of Don’s initiative when it was first presented, and these made me want to be involved in a significant way. Mercy Ships brings tangible and concrete support to thousands of families across the region, and with MSC Group’s major presence there we have a duty to give back to the local communities. This vessel is yet another milestone in our vision to support the African continent with achieving a truly prosperous and sustainable destiny.”

MSC Foundation Executive Director Daniela Picco added“We are extremely proud of our support for Mercy Ships through grant-making and in-kind donations and of the transformative impacts their free services and training have had on 18,000 medical professionals and community leaders and 30,300 patients of all ages through 33,200 surgeries since 2011.

“When the discussion started with Mercy Ships’ founder Don Stephens to build a new ship together, I was delighted to facilitate this game-changing commitment to accompany Mercy Ships into the coming decades.”