Hospital ship Caribbean Mercy


Formerly a Norwegian ferry (Polarlys), the Caribbean Mercy was acquired by Mercy Ships in 1994. In her 12-year history, the Caribbean Mercy contributed more than 20% of Mercy Ships total output in terms of number of services, value and beneficiaries, serving primarily in Central America and the Caribbean basin. While in port, she hosted an average crew of 120 volunteers from more than 20 nations.


Facilities & Features

The Caribbean Mercy was outfitted with an eye surgery unit, cargo capacity and accommodation for up to 150 people while in port, as well as conference and seminar facilities used for a variety of programmes. Her fuel and water tanks provided a cruising range of 12 days, or 3,600 miles.


Lifetime Legacy

Services Delivered

Crew onboard the Caribbean Mercy offered close to 289,000 services, at a value of over $88 million and with 348,800 people as direct beneficiaries.

  • Performed more than 7,000 surgeries such as cataract removal, strabismus, dental and orthopaedic procedures.
  • Treated more than 54,300 people in village medical clinics.
  • Performed 18,200 dental treatments.
  • Taught more than 1,500 local health-care workers, who have in turn trained many others in basic healthcare.
  • Trained local medical professionals in modern health-care techniques to carry on after the ship’s departure.
  • Delivered more than $1.7 million of medical equipment, hospital supplies and medicines.
  • Completed more than 140 construction and agriculture projects including schools, clinics, orphanages and water wells.


Ports Visited

The Caribbean Mercy visited 137 total ports in her 12-year history and conducted 56 field assignments in 13 nations: Dominican Republic, Haiti, Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, Russia, Korea, China, Philippines, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Honduras and Belize.



During her first 42 years the ship only travelled within Norway. During her 12 years of service as a Mercy Ship, she visited 18 countries. In 2006 she was sold to a family foundation to be renovated.


Length80 mBreadth12,2 m
Gross Tonnage2.125Built1952 Aalborg, Danemark
RegisteredPanamaCrew Capacity87
Cargo Capacity688 m3Main Engine1 MAK diesel (3.670 BHP)
Draft5.18 mSurveyed ByDet Norske Veritas

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Nelson Mandela (1918–2013)