The Africa Mercy will soon be returning to her mission of hope and healing in Senegal and Mercy Ships has been hard at work preparing for the upcoming field service. Our previous service in Senegal was cut short after COVID-19 restrictions began worldwide.

Now, as many of these regulations begin to lift, Mercy Ships is refining our own safety measures to ensure the safety and health of our patients and volunteer crew. As we continue the process of staffing both of our ships with an international crew, we wanted to share some of the key measures we’re taking to keep our community safe in light of COVID-19.


Varied COVID-19 Prevention Methods

The health and safety of everyone onboard our hospital ship is a top priority to us. Our COVID-19 prevention methods include:

  • Regular testing– We aim to test our crew and day crew regularly.
  • Health screenings– In addition to conducting health screenings and medical checks, we’ll also be proactively keeping our community safe through health monitoring and temperature checks.
  • Care onboard– The crew clinic onboard will provide fast and free medical care to crew as needed.
  • Frequent communication– Regular meetings, digital signage, and Captain’s noticeboard announcements keep crew informed of the latest health recommendations.


Socially Distanced Community Life

Community is a major part of life onboard our ships. After a particularly isolating and challenging year for many, we’re thrilled that our ships can be a place of connection and purpose for our international crew once again. We have taken several different steps to foster a vibrant community while still facilitating social distancing.

Some of these changes include:

  • Limiting our cabin capacities to a maximum of four people per cabin.
  • Eliminating self-service in the dining rooms and instead offering plating and service from the dining room staff.
  • Implementing social distancing practices in our dining room and cafe areas.
  • Requiring that all persons onboard the ships wear masks in public spaces.
  • Encouraging regular and thorough hand-washing and hand sanitization.


There will still be plenty of opportunities to engage with others and relax a safe, socially distanced way. Crew will be able to grab a coffee at the Starbucks Cafe, browse books and movies at the library, and stock up on essential items at the Ship Shop onboard. There are also plenty of opportunities to get some fresh air outdoors, like Deck 7 and the pool and playground areas on Deck 8, as well as the dock.

We are excited for our return to Africa but can’t do it alone. Our lifesaving, life-changing work wouldn’t be possible without incredible volunteers coming from around the world to serve onboard. From cooks to teachers to surgeons there’s a place for nearly every talent. Join us on this exciting adventure and find your place onboard today!

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” – Martin Luther King Jr.

For additional information about volunteering with us, including our COVID-19 protocols, pease visit our FAQ page.