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Building capacity in Mercy Ships maritime crew

In partnership with our Deck and Engineering crew, Mercy Ships provides free training and internationally recognised certifications each year. This ensures that our maritime crew are qualified to meet the legal manning requirements to keep our hospital afloat, while setting them on a path to well-respected careers after their volunteer service with us.

On average, 150 deck crew receive training on board the Africa Mercy every year and we were recently able to celebrate the advancement of 11 of our seafarers from seven different nations. Seven Deck Hands advanced to Deck Ratings and four Deck Ratings to certified Able Seafarers. In recognition of their hard work, their accomplishments were honoured in a ceremony on board.

Alongside his fellow crew, Abdulai Sesay was celebrated for increasing ranks. After serving faithfully for three years on our Housekeeping and Dining Room Teams, he joined our Deck Department. “I was not expecting to be in the maritime industry. When I came on board the ship, they gave [me] that opportunity. You can work at the same time and get training. This kind of thing was amazing.” Now, through successful completion of free training offered by Mercy Ships, Abdulai is officially a Deck Rating.

Mercy Ships is known for providing free, world-class surgical care to people throughout West and Central Africa while partnering with health care workers through medical training and mentorship programs. Mercy Ships also supports a dynamic and sustainable training support to invest in the maritime volunteers from many nations who help keep the ship running.

“Without Deck and Engineering, the hospital on the ship is not going to function. Our job is to keep the ship as the platform so other programs can do their job. The dedication of our marine crew to keeping the Africa Mercy as a safe and functioning vessel is vital to the medical mission of Mercy Ships,” says Marcos Dos Santos, the Mercy Ships Maritime Training Manager.

Highlighting the need for more maritime volunteers, Marcos challenges, “Come and have a lifetime of learning. Mercy Ships will take you to places that you’ve never imagined.”

We’re proud to partner with our crew and we can’t thank them enough for their dedicated service.


Mercy Ships needs volunteers like you to power our ships as we prepare to return to Africa to help rebuild and strengthen health care systems. To find out more and take the first steps on your journey to West Africa with Mercy Ships, click below.