They are keeping the hospital ship afloat
Our partner Mercy Ships, owns and operates the world’s largest civilian hospital ship, from which they provide dental care and qualified medical care to the people who need it the most. The whole operation is based on the work of volunteers and today, we’re launching our own volunteer program together with Mercy Ships. Matthew Heyman, a Stena employee, has worked as a volunteer onboard the Africa Mercy. This is his story.
Every year more than 1 000 volunteers of different ages, gender and occupation, from more than 40 countries, volunteer on board the floating hospital Africa Mercy. Alongside the skilled medical operatives on board giving life-changing care, are seafarers, teachers, chaplains, accountants, cooks and electricians, all giving up their time to ensure the vessel is fully operational. Joining them is a team of additional volunteers who bring their own life experience and enthusiasm to help with additional important duties. Matthew Heyman, normally working with crewing and training for the Stena-owned ship management company Northern Marine Group, is one of them.
Sharing his story
“I have spent a month on board in total and I must say there is a fantastic and positive attitude among the volunteers. Everyone is there for a cause, and it is really reflected in the way people behave. I can really recommend applying for a position at Mercy Ships”, he says.
In 2016 Matthew volunteered to assist with a two week ship refit in Durban, South Africa. This July he returned for another two weeks when Africa Mercy went in to dry dock in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. With no specific skills in a trade such as electrician or carpenter Matthew became part of the project department.
“We take care of special projects that they have not been able to take care of during normal operations, as well as doing some extra cleaning and painting. One good example this year is when we did a 70 meter cable pull, running and securing a power cable from the emergency generator, down five or six decks to the engine control room”, says Matthew.
When Matthew first found out about Mercy Ships via a note on the social network LinkedIn his first thought was to get involved in the fundraising part.
“It felt relevant for me to get involved because of the close connection to shipping. After 30 years in the business I have both a lot of knowledge and contacts. But I soon realized it is hard to tell the Mercy Ship story without any practical onboard experience. Now I have it and will go on and share my story!”
We want to thank Matthew for sharing his story with us and for contributing to the important work of Mercy Ships. It sounds like a very rewarding experience! For all of you who want to contribute – when you travel with us during September and October, make sure to add 20p, 20c or 2 SEK when you buy your coffee onboard, and the money will go to Mercy Ships. So enjoy a coffee with a lovely sea view and pay that happy energy forward! /Ylva.