FAQ
What are the basic requirements for working on the Africa Mercy?

You should be at least 18 years of age, in good health, have good English skills, be willing to volunteer, and pay for both accommodation and airfare.

How well do I need to know the English language?

It is essential to have sufficient knowledge of the English language to communicate with the other team members. In addition, the international maritime law to which we are subject requires it for safety reasons. The recommended level is B1.

What is the minimum commitment of an assignment?

The minimum duration depends on the respective work area. For some medical positions (surgeons, anaesthetists, OR nurses, dentists) the minimum commitment is two weeks. For all other areas, the minimum is 2, 3, 6, 12, 24 or 36 months. Generally speaking, however, we prefer assignments of longer duration and give them a higher priority.

What positions does Mercy Ships offer?

Various medical professions, but also other areas such as cooks, mechanics, welders, photographers, sailors, bakers, plumbers, hairdressers, teachers, accountants, receptionists, cleaners, electricians, journalists. You will find a complete overview of all positions to be filled on board the Africa Mercy, along with the minimum commitment for each position, by clicking on the link: http://apply.mercyships.org/.

Are students also accepted?

Yes, because many jobs do not require any specific training, such as galley and dining room staff, housekeeping, warehouse management, reception staff, etc. These positions are often filled by students who wish to take a break during their studies.

Can retirees or elderly people apply?

Due to the Covid-19 situation, it has been decided that any person above the age of 70 would not be accdepted on board for security reasons (temporary measure). However, in theory, anyone in good health can apply. We do feel that in some areas the Africa Mercy is not well adapted for the elderly, due to the many stairs and the type of accommodation (bunk beds, little personal space, cabins to be shared with several other staff members). The climate in Africa, hot and humid, can be another challenge, and in addition, access to medical care is limited. Officially there is no age limit for an application.

I'm a medical student. Can I do my internship on the ship?

No, because we do not have the infrastructure or the facilities to offer internships. In addition, the governments of the countries where we carry out our field services require our medical staff to have recognised diplomas from their countries of origin. Another reason is that we put the focus on training local caregivers in order to leave a lasting impact.

I am freshly graduated / have just finished my medical studies. May I already apply for a position?

For the majority of medical professions (nurses, surgeons, anaesthetists, laboratory technicians, etc.), professional experience of at least two years after obtaining the diploma is essential. For dental staff, at least one year of professional experience is required.

Can I do my community service on board the Africa Mercy?

Unfortunately, no.

I'm married. Can I apply together with my spouse?

Yes, the ship is equipped with 481 berths, of which 25 are specially for married couples. Unfortunately, the number is limited and often not enough to accommodate all the couples applying. It could therefore happen that you have to wait for a longer time.

I'm married. Can I get involved without my spouse?

Yes, although we prefer to limit these commitment periods to a maximum of three months.

I am interested in coming with my whole family. Is that possible?

It is the same situation as for married couples, there is a limited number of family cabins. They can accommodate a family with up to four children and are meant for volunteers who have committed themselves for a period of two years or more. For children of school age there is an academy on board the ship.

Do I have to be a Christian/believer to work with Mercy Ships?

Mercy Ships is a Christian organisation and the majority of our staff are Christian believers. All volunteers, regardless of their background, are welcome on board if they are committed to the mission of Mercy Ships, if they support the core values of Mercy Ships and if they have the necessary skills. For long term commitments, belonging to the Christian faith can help with feeling comfortable in the community on board.

What are the costs of my stay on board?

Every crew member has to pay his monthly so-called “Crew Fees” as a contribution to the costs of lodging. For a commitment: of less than 3 months USD 700 / month, from 3 to 12 months USD 650 / month, from 12 to 24 months USD 350 / month, from 2 years USD 250 / month

Will there be any other costs?

Yes, the airfare to and from the ship is also at your expense. In addition, you should set aside a certain amount as pocket money for your personal needs, so that you can go out for a meal in a restaurant or accompany friends to the beach. There is a Starbucks Café on board and a mini kiosk for drinks, chocolate, etc. We therefore recommend that you plan on spending USD 100 per month. However, this is only a recommendation.

Will I need a visa?

No, our host countries exempt us from the visa requirement. If you are involved, Mercy Ships will provide you with documents confirming that you can enter without a visa.

Will I have contact with the local population and/or patients?

You will certainly have many opportunities to do so. Visits to orphanages or prisons are organised on a regular basis, you just have to register for them. All those staff members who are not working in the medical field will have the opportunity to visit patients in the infirmary and thus establish contact with them.

What medical procedures do you perform?

The main types of surgery offered are: general, gynecological, maxillofacial, ophthalmic, reconstructive plastic, orthopedic, and dental / oral care.

For how long will the ship remain in port?

For a typical field service, the ship stays in the same port for about 10 months, usually from the end of August to the beginning of June. During the 2 summer months the ship is taken to a shipyard for maintenance, often in the Canary Islands.

How and when do I apply?

Go to the website http://apply.mercyships.org/. Select the desired position and click “Apply”. The HR service for the ship is managed by our “Operations Center” in the USA. We recommend sending your application at least 6 months before your desired commitment. You can also send the form one year in advance, which can increase your chances of being accepted. After receiving your application, the US Team will contact you.