stena line is a proud partner to mercy ships

We want to make a difference.

The humanitarian organisation Mercy Ships sails fully-equipped hospital ships staffed with volunteers to provide free, life-saving treatments to some of the countries in the world where it's needed the most. In Mercy Ships, Stena Line has found a partner that is committed to delivering vital, free healthcare to people who might not have any other medical options. Mercy Ships, like us, see the benefits and the flexibility of having the ocean and ships as their workplace.

Since 2017, the aim of our partnership is to raise awareness of Mercy Ships, increase the interest in donations among our passengers and partners, as well as promote volunteering among our employees to share their unique technical and naval competence. To read more about Stena Line’s sustainability initiatives, please visit our A Sustainable Journey (PDF, 4,56 MB).


We’re extremely proud of our partner Mercy Ships, working relentlessly to provide healthcare and training of local health care professionals where it’s needed the most. We are supporting them in many different ways all year around through different campaigns and for every purchased Happy mascot soft toy in our onboard shop, 1 EUR goes to Mercy Ships.

But for this festive season we wanted to do something special for the children recovering in the Mercy Ships rehab center, Hope, in Senegal, so we shipped 100 Happy soft toys to be given to them as Christmas gifts. 


For the third consecutive year, and during October and November, we've had a fleet-wide donation campaign to support our partner Mercy Ships. This year, we've reached the total sum of 100,000 SEK.


During the campaign period, our customers were given the opportunity to round up their onboard purchases and donate to Mercy Ships. At the end of this campaign, we've reached 79,362 SEK and Stena Line as a company contributed with a donation and round up, with the total sum of 100,000 SEK being donated to Mercy Ships. Donations received between the 1st of October and the 31st of December will be matched by the UK government.


The Volunteer program at Mercy Ships was launched in 2017 and is part of Stena Line's sustainability strategy. Stena Line 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. However, Stena Line guarantees their leave of absence and covers overhead expenses, as well as all their vaccinations.


Curious to know more? Hear from our employees who have volunteered already. Meet the crew below and read about their experience.


Martina Thowsen, Able Seaman: “It felt good contributing to a great cause.”

Martina Thowsen normally works as an able seaman on the ferry Stena Scandinavica, operating the Gothenburg -Kiel route. During dry dock on board Africa Mercy in Las Palmas she worked as a night watchman making fire safety patrols and assisted in the general maintenance, grinding rust and painting the vessel.

“I had no idea how it would feel to come on board Africa Mercy, but I felt very much at home and met so many fantastic people from all over the world. And even though I wasn’t part of the medical team, it felt good contributing to a great cause,” says Martina and concludes: “I really enjoy my time here, and I can see myself returning in the future.”

Alexander Gustafsson, Able Seaman: “Seamanship is an international language that all sailors speak.”

The role of Able Seaman is one of 200 different positions needed to run the Africa Mercy and during dry dock the deck crew plays a very important part to get the ship ready for its journey. A lot of maintenance needs to be done in a short period of time meanwhile new supplies and equipment need to be brought onboard.


“It was a great atmosphere between colleagues on board, and we were constantly learning from each other when discussing how we should handle a new situation. It was fun to see that seamanship is an international language that all sailors speak”, says Alexander Gustafsson who usually works as an Able Seaman on the Stena Nautica, operating the Varberg-Grenaa route.

"There is a special atmosphere on board", Cees de Jong and Misha Vellinga, Engineers

While Martina and Alexander got leave of absent to volunteer for three months, Cees and Misha from the North Sea decided to support the team during their summer vacation. With their technical background they were able to assist in numerous projects.


“Misha and I were assigned to a team that completes all kinds of projects in the accommodation of the ship. You should think of replacing the ball bearings of all fans and electric motors of the ventilation system. Also, bigger projects were current, such as maintenance work on the propeller shafts, replacing the entire IT system by a new installation. Even the diesel generators, which we know from our fleet, were completely overhauled” says Cees de Jong, Chief Engineer from Stena Transit.


Man in machine room.
Johnny – our first volunteer

Our partnership with Mercy Ships is not only about engaging in fund raising – it is also to share the knowledge and competence we hold. That's why we, together with Mercy Ships, have created our very own volunteer program.


During the summer of 2018 two of our employees went south to volunteer with destination Guinea on the west coast of Africa. First in line was Johnny Joensuu, 34, from Norrköping who usually works as third engineer on Stena Saga. 


"You’ll only been giving this chance once in your life so why not seize it?" says Johnny who was away for three months.


Read more about Johnny's life onboard»


Maria Ekstrand, 47, is Floor manager onboard Stena Jutlandica and is working in the dining room for just over three months. Since Maria is a true globetrotter and likes challenges she immediately got interested when she heard about the volunteer program.


"I needed something new since 2017 was a tough year in many ways… I felt I needed to see something else to get a perspective on things and appreciate the life I live".


She is most excited to come and visit Guinea and take part of their culture.

"I’m very curious about their culture and hopefully I will get the chance to go ashore on the days I don’t work onboard", Maria says.


Read more about Maria's life onboard»

Sarah Scowcroft on board Africa Mercy.
From Irish Sea South to Africa Mercy

What started as a charity walk for Mercy Ships has now turned into a Guinean adventure for Sarah Scowcroft from Irish Sea South. Her initiative took her all the way to the hospital ship Africa Mercy to see how the £7 414.96 she helped raised is being used.


"We support Mercy Ships because we care about people and the world around us. The engagement from Sarah and her colleagues is an example of our employees living our company values. We are delighted that we and Mercy Ships together are able to offer Sarah this opportunity to visit Africa Mercy and see how the money raised is being used to make a difference on board the hospital ship", says Ian Hampton, Chief People & Communications Officer.



Read more about Sarah's adventure»