Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. How long has YWAM been operating a ship?

YWAM has operated around the globe now for over 30 years in shipping with some of the largest ships of mercy in the world, operating in the Pacific since 1991. The MV Pacific Link operated out of Townsville, Australia from 2010-2014. A replacement vessel, the MV YWAM PNG was purchased at the end of 2014 and commenced its operations in PNG in 2015.

Q2. How can I volunteer?

Simply click here to sign up to volunteer. We are always looking for medical professionals, marine professionals and a variety of crew support team members who are willing to do anything!

Q3. Its great that you use volunteers for medical services, but do you pay large salaries for your staff?

No, actually all of our staff – even including our Managing Director – are 100% volunteer. This is a great way to ensure that everyone is in it for the right reasons and also to make your donations and contributions have a maximum impact on the work done!

Q4. Does YWAM Medical Ships only offer short term assistance?

YWAM Medical Ships has a development model that builds on cooperation and collaboration at a grassroots and National level. This means that while many of our volunteers come for a short time, it’s in the context of a long term strategy that has been organised with locals to best meet their needs. Where possible, we encourage our returning volunteers to consider volunteering in the same village or region so they can build long term relationship as these real person-to-person relationships are key to the long term capacity building we aim to achieve!

Q5. How does YWAM Medical Ships address the culturally specific health and social needs involved in this sort of venture?

YWAM Medical Ships works according to PNG’s National Health Plan and standards.. All volunteers are briefed on these standards and experts in each field oversee clinics so that treatment plans are of a nationally approved standard. Volunteers are oriented to the cultural and social standards of the communities we work with, and work in partnership with local translators and contacts that help navigate the complexities of language and culture.

Q6. Does the ship just turn up wherever it pleases?

YWAM Medical Ships has been building a network across the Gulf, Western, Central, Oro, Milne Bay and Morobe Provinces, which are built out of relationship and understanding of local needs. To this end, we have a Memorandum of Understanding with the PNG Department of Health, the Department of National Planning and Monitoring and Southern Region and Huon Gulf Provincial Governments to deliver services according to PNG’s National Health Plan.

Q7. What happens when the ship needs to leave and patients still have needs?

Because we work alongside rural health workers, our services are just as much about capacity building and up-skilling locals as it is about delivering services. Each case is unique and we do our best to ensure we provide as much care as possible; however, we also do our best to ensure that the local health worker is informed and equipped to deal with cases after our departure.

Q8. Who supports YWAM's work?

YWAM works with a vast network of partners. We also have two Patrons – the Right Honourable Sir Rabbie Namaliu CSM KCSG, former Prime Minister of PNG, who serves as the PNG Patron, and the Honourable Mike Reynolds, AM, former Speaker of the Queensland Parliament. We also have a grassroots support network of individuals across Australia and PNG.

Q9. What structure and accountability does YWAM Medical Ships have?

As a Company, YWAM Medical Ships has a Board of Directors which is accountable to its members. YWAM is also a signatory to the Australian Council for International Development Code of Conduct and is a member of Missions Interlink. All YWAM Medical Ships medical volunteers are required to apply for a PNG medical/nursing registration. There are a number of external accountability bodies as well, which cover our ship and medical operations. Our services and findings are reported to the PNG Department of Health.

Q10. How do I give feedback?

YWAM Medical Ships values feedback from volunteers, partners and the general community in order to improve the work we do in Papua New Guinea. If you wish to give your feedback, please email us at, or if you’d like to view a copy of our complaints policy, please download at this link

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