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Mercy Ships

Life-changing surgery for those in need.

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A call to compassionate
action for a hurting world

10.8 million people die each year of preventable cause, that is 1 every 3 seconds.

— The Lancet 316 - June 2003

Since 1987, Mercy Ships has performed free surgery on the poorest people in the world. They have carried out more than two million services, valued at over 250 million dollars. Their life-changing work has impacted over 5.5 million people.

Burn Contractures

How the dream of Mercy Ships became a reality


The mission statement of Mercy Ships:

  • Bringing hope and healing to the poor
  • Serving people of all faiths

Dr. Tertius Venter has been serving Mercy Ships every year since 2000, bringing healing to those in need.

I am the only Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon who visits the ship on a regular basis for 4 -5 months per year.
Dr. Tertius Venter on the Africa Mercy from Mercy Ships
Dr. Tertius at work on the Africa Mercy

The story of Mercy Ships is amazing, however the results speak even louder:

  • Performed more than 100 000 operations such as cleft lip and palate, cataract removal, straightening of crossed-eyes, orthopaedic and facial reconstruction, plastic and reconstructive procedures.
  • Treated more than 300,000 people in village medical clinics.
  • Performed 110,000 dental treatments.
  • Trainer 14,500 local health care and professional workers, who have in turn trained multiple thousands in primary health care.
  • Trained local medical professionals in modern health care techniques to carry on after the ship leaves. 
  • Delivered more than $21 million of medical equipment, hospital supplies and medicines.
  • Completed close to 900 construction and agriculture projects including schools, clinics, orphanages and water wells.
  • Demonstrated the love of God to people in 95 ports in 53 developing nations.
  • 850 career staff and crew from more than 40 nations serving today.

On a yearly basis there are more than 1,600 short-term volunteers whom serve with Mercy Ships. They cover their own room and board and travel expenses to have a chance to reach the people in need.

A patient before and after surgery by Dr. Tertius Venter, Mercy Ships.
Burn Contracture, before and after release.

 “I tell you, whenever you did this for one of the least important of these members of My family, you did it for Me!”

— Matthew 25:45

The Africa Mercy ship
The M/V Africa Mercy on her way.

The M/V Africa Mercy

The Africa Mercy is the 5th ship in service of Mercy Ships International, a worldwide charity based in Dallas, Texas. The ship is rebuilt to a state of the art hospital ship that has replaced all the previous ships. The capacity of the Africa Mercy is nearly double that of all the old ships combined.

The Africa Mercy serves the poorest countries in the world with specialist medical and spiritual care.

  • 5 Operation Rooms doing maxillo facial surgery, plastic and reconstructive surgery, orthopaedic surgery, general surgery, eye surgery and gynaecological surgery.
  • 70 Beds including 3 in Intensive Care and 2 isolation wards/beds
  • All the necessary laboratory facilities
  • X-Ray and CT Scans

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