After a successful volunteer program in 2018, two more employees are preparing for a three-month adventure, joining the Mercy Ships hospital ship ‘Africa Mercy’. In addition to fundraising and raising awareness for the humanitarian NGO, Stena Line also aims to contribute the unique technical and naval competence held by its employees to the work of Mercy Ships.
In the next few days two Stena Line Able Seamen, Martina Thowsen and Alexander Gustafsson, will commence their journey in the Las Palmas ship yard where the hospital ship Africa Mercy is scheduled for maintenance before continuing the journey down to the coast of Senegal. Exactly what their specific tasks will be depends on the ship’s needs at the time, but they both up for the challenge.
“I feel very prepared for what is yet to come and want to thank my colleagues at Stena Line who have shared with me their very valuable experience and knowledge”, says Alexander Gustafsson, Able Seaman at Stena Nautica, operating on the Varberg - Grenaa route.
There are more than 200 different roles required to run the Africa Mercy ship and even though medical care is the substantive part of the operation, other professions are much needed including carpenters, mechanics, security officers and chefs to mention just a few. Onboard there will be around 50 different nationalities sharing their knowledge and onboard experiences as part of the team.
“I am looking forward to meeting people from other cultures and countries, but most of all I am looking forward to contributing to this great cause. Even though I’m not working with the medical care team, on Africa Mercy I will still be helping to improve people’s lives”, says Martina Thowsen, Able Seaman on Stena Scandinavica, which operates the Gothenburg - Kiel route.
The volunteer program is part of Stena Line’s sustainability strategy, which combines three dimensions of sustainability; economic, ecological and social. The program was launched in 2017 and employees from all eight of the shipping company’s regions are encouraged to apply. In accordance with Mercy Ship´s values, all volunteers work for free. Stena Line guarantees leave of absence and provides overhead expenses and all necessary vaccinations.