MSC to Construct New Hospital Ship for People in Africa

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In a charitable partnership, MSC Foundation, MSC Group, and Mercy Ships International announced the construction of a new hospital ship to provide critical surgical services and training in sub-Saharan Africa. The initiative will enhance healthcare availability and capacity across the region.

Expanded Healthcare in Africa

A new global health outreach is being established through the continued partnership between MSC Group, MSC Foundation, and Mercy Ships International. The collaboration focuses on constructing a cutting-edge hospital ship, aimed at drastically improving healthcare access and training in sub-Saharan Africa.

Mercy Ship is a global charity that operates a fleet of hospital ships in developing nations. Founded in 1978 by Don Stephens, the organization provides free medical care, life-saving surgeries, and healthcare training to underserved populations in various parts of the world, particularly Africa.

MSC Group has partnered with Mercy Ships for over a decade through its cargo business, first supplying the hospital ship, Africa Mercy, through its container shipping operations. MSC Group also used empty shipping containers to create a wall around the docked ship to serve as a hospital compound.

Mercy Ships
Photo Courtesy: Mercy Ships

Captain Gianluigi Aponte, chairman of MSC Group and the MSC Foundation, expressed his deep personal connection to the initiative, saying, “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.”

MSC Group’s Strategic Evolution

The new, yet-to-be-named hospital ship will mirror the capabilities of the existing Global Mercy, which was the first ship created in partnership with MSC Group and Mercy Ship in 2022. The 37,000-gross-tonnage Global Mercy was a first-of-its-kind passenger ship, accommodating up to 950 people while in port.

The new ship will similarly feature two decks dedicated to medical facilities spanning 7,000 square meters, including living spaces to host 600 crew members and guests, six operating theaters, a laboratory, and clinical space.

MSC Group’s involvement extends beyond financial contributions, providing logistical and infrastructural support essential for the ship’s operations. This includes handling and transportation of necessary medical supplies and equipment across African ports.

Diego Aponte, president of MSC Group and member of the MSC Foundation Board, emphasized the importance of the new ship, “This vessel is yet another milestone in our vision to support the African continent with achieving a truly prosperous and sustainable destiny.”

Read Also: MSC Cruises Expands in the US With New 2025 Itineraries

The new hospital ship is not the only new ship in MSC Group’s future. In late 2022, the company’s MSC Cruises welcomed the first of its new World-class fleet, the 6,762-passenger MSC World Europa. The first MSC Cruises ship to be propelled by liquefied natural gas (LNG)MSC World Europa is the first of the cruise line’s commitment to reducing emissions.

MSC World Europa Cruise Ship
Photo Courtesy: MSC Cruises

MSC World America, the second of the World Class fleet and the sister to MSC World Europa at 215,863 gross tons, is currently in final construction phases. It will debut for its inaugural season in Miami next April, also powered by LNG.

The cruise line also has two additional World-Class ships on order at the Chantiers de l-Atlantique shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, France. The unnamed ships are slated to set sail in 2026 and 2027.

Additionally, MSC Group supports African tourism through cruises aboard MSC Musica. The 2,550-passenger ship offers 3- and 4-night roundtrip sailings in South Africa from Durban, calling on Portuguese Island and Pomene, Mozambique, during the African summer months.

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