Aylesford resident to volunteer onboard world’s largest floating hospital Africa Mercy

Published on June 18, 2017

Liam Dee of Aylesford, who recently graduated from the Continuing Care program at the Nova Scotia Community College Middleton Campus, is on his way to volunteer onboard the world’s largest charity hospital ship.


AYLESFORD, NS - With a future career in nursing in mind, an Aylesford resident will gain valuable experience as he spends the summer onboard the world’s largest charity hospital ship.

21-year-old Liam Dee said he’d be leaving on June 30 to volunteer onboard the Africa Mercy. It will be stationed in the Canary Islands and Cameroon. Dee will be working onboard the ship throughout July and August.

He said he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do after high school. He earned a diploma in Forest Technology but changed his thinking about half way through the program.

Dee decided to pursue a career in health care so he enrolled in the Continuing Care program at the Middleton Campus of the Nova Scotia Community College. Dee graduated on June 7.

He said he first learned about the world’s largest charity hospital ship a few years ago while watching a documentary on the Discovery Channel, part of the series Mighty Ships.

He said the possibility of volunteering on the Africa Mercy piqued his interest. He decided to apply online for an onboard housekeeping position and was accepted.

“It’s a ship that’s serving people that don’t have access to adequate health care or can’t afford it,” Dee said. “Everyone from their ships engineers to their cooks to their surgeons are all volunteers.”

Since the purpose of the ship is to provide health care, he said it’s mostly doctors and nurses who are accepted. Dee plans on working toward a nursing degree. He thought that working onboard as a housekeeper would be a great way to get his foot in the door, as he hopes to volunteer onboard the ship as a nurse in the future.

Dee said Mercy Ships, the Christian organization behind the Africa Mercy, believes that healthcare is an essential service that everyone should have access to. He shares this vision. If someone needs medical attention that can be provided by the professionals onboard their vessels, they don’t discriminate.

With 75 per cent of the world’s population living within 150 km of a port city, Mercy Ships can reach people who live with little or no health care in some of the poorest parts of the world.

The Africa Mercy features all the facilities needed to carry out life-changing surgeries and treatments. It provides a safe, clean, controlled environment for patients and the crew.

Did you know?

-       The Africa Mercy is 152 metres long and weighs 16,572 GRT. GRT or gross register tonnage represents the total internal volume of a vessel, where one register ton is equal to a volume of 100 cubic feet (2.83168 m3), a volume that, if filled with fresh water, would weigh around 2,800 kg or 2.8 tonnes.

-       After seven years in UK shipyards being renovated from a rail ferry into a hospital ship, the Africa Mercy began her career as a Mercy Ship in 2007 in Liberia, West Africa.

-       With five operating theatres and an 82-bed ward, the Africa Mercy is the world’s largest non-governmental floating hospital.

-       Founded in 1978, Mercy Ships is an international organization with a team of nurses, doctors, surgeons, and other crewmembers from all over the world that donate their time to help on board.

-       For more information, visit