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ABB to power world’s largest civilian hospital ship


March 18, 2015
By Anthony Capkun

March 18, 2015 – Work has commenced on building the world’s largest civilian hospital ship—the next Mercy Ship for the charitable organization Mercy Ships—and it will feature complete electrical power and propulsion systems from ABB.

“Our hospital ships operate in environments where reliable power is not always available. Even if shore power was available, we could not count on it to provide a safe and clean source of power to operate our hospitals,” said Jim Paterson, senior vice-president, Marine Operations, for Mercy Ships.

The power production system on board is designed to ensure power supply for the hospital functions in any possible fault situation. In addition, the ABB power and propulsion plant will be supported by a remote diagnostics system and around-the-clock telephone assistance to ensure uninterrupted operations.

“Our ships have to be pretty self-sufficient and able to provide, not only for the hospital, but also for the 400-plus crew, staff and family members who serve on board. A reliable power source and distribution system is critical for this to happen,” said Paterson.

When completed, the 37,000-gt vessel will feature full hospital, accommodation and training facilities and, once in service, will expand the Mercy Ship organization’s activity on the African continent. There will be two hospital decks and six surgery rooms that can be used for both medical care and educational training. The ship will have beds for 109 acute-care patients, 45 self-care patients, and over 487 crew members and medical staff in 277 cabins. While in port, the ship’s capacity increases to 950 people.

Mercy Ships uses hospital ships to deliver free healthcare services, capacity building and sustainable development to those without access in the developing world. Founded in 1978, Mercy Ships has worked in more than 70 countries providing services valued at more than $1 billion, treating more than 2.5 million direct beneficiaries. Each year Mercy Ships has more than 1600 volunteers from more than 40 nations.

The vessel is scheduled for delivery in 2017.

Photo courtesy ABB.