Our partnership with Mercy Ships is not only about engaging in fundraising – 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, our first two employees went to volunteer in Las Palmas prior to Africa Mercy setting sail to Guinea on the west coast of Africa. First in line was Johnny Joensuu, 34, from Norrköping who usually works as the third engineer on Stena Saga.
“The trip itself has been amazing. I have met a lot of people from different backgrounds and nationalities. One thing that I’ll bring back home with me is the understanding of how fortunate we are. Medical care and schools are things we take for granted, which are not available for a lot of the people I have met on board.”
Seizing the chance of his lifetime, Johnny Joensuu volunteered for three months. Johnny was assisting with ship maintenance in Las Palmas during his volunteer period. As a hospital ship, Africa Mercy spends most of her time in port. She only sails about two weeks each year and since most of the people on board are volunteers, they have little experience of working at sea. Therefore our experienced employees with their unique technical and naval competence are able to offer a wealth of knowledge first hand.
Normally Johnny works as a Third Engineer on Stena Saga and even though his everyday work onboard has been quite similar to back home, it has been an eye-opening experience. Among others, he had to ensure that the planned maintenance is done in a satisfactory way and to get the ship ready for her next voyage to Guinea in August.
“The biggest challenge was right at the beginning when I only had a week to learn all about the ship’s systems before we set sail for Las Palmas. In my role as the Third Engineer I’ve was given responsibility for the generators on board.”