One of the most effective international charitable organizations in the world, is headquartered right here in east Texas.
Right up the road in Lindale is Mercy Ships, and they have some spectacular news.
Mercy Ships is like a giant, floating Mother Theresa.
Since 1978, Mercy Ships has been taking free medical care to parts of the world where birth defects, disease, dental and vision problems, and a host of health issues simply go untreated.
And all the personnel are volunteers.
Their ship, the Africa Mercy is a state of the art floating hospital, but soon, it will be eclipsed.
“Well we’ve been working on this idea ever since we launched Africa Mercy in 2007,” says Vice President Jim Paterson. “We decommissioned our older ships and realized there’s so much work needing done, not only in Africa, but other parts of the world as well, that we needed to add to the fleet again. So we’ve actually been working on the development of this idea now for quite some time.”
Mercy Ships has contracted to have built the largest civilian hospital ship in the world.
A little over half the length of the old QE2, the new ship was designed in Finland and will be built in China.
“We did a lot of research,” Paterson says, “and obviously, we’ve got a lot of experience refurbishing older vessels, we’ve done 4 so far. And to go new just made a little bit more sense. You spend a lot of money refurbishing but as anyone who’s done house renovations knows, there’s always complications. You always run into things you didn’t plan for, and at the end of the day it’s always a compromise. It’s never what you want and you spend a lot of money. So we thought a new build was the way to go.”
It is twice as large as the current Mercy Africa and will be able to handle even more life-saving procedures.
The project should take about 3 and a half years, with the ship launched in 2017.
Mercy ships recently was given $20-million from the founder of Pimco, Bill Gross.
The money will go toward the new ship.