YWAM Medical Ships – Australia’s (YWAM MSA) new Medical and Training Ship, the MV YWAM PNG has departed Townsville for its maiden voyage to Papua New Guinea (PNG).
The vessel was purchased in December last year following the success of a five-month public awareness and fundraising campaign during which $6.5 million AUD was raised and pledged amongst Government departments, businesses and hundreds of individuals in Australia, PNG and beyond.
Managing Director of YWAM MSA, Ken Mulligan, said that it is a great time of celebration for Townsville as they deploy the vessel as a Training and Medical Ship for the first time.
“I have such joy in my heart, it’s taken years of dreaming and a lot of hard work from so many people to make this a reality.”
“What has been achieved with our former vessel, the MV Pacific Link, has set us up for a very new and exciting chapter – the MVYWAM PNG will eventually operate for 11 months of the year in six provinces – reaching thousands of people in isolated communities,” said Mr Mulligan.
Medical, marine and general volunteers from all over the world will be serving on the vessel helping to deliver primary health care, dentistry, optometry and training services in the Gulf, Western, Central, Milne Bay, Oro and Morobe Provinces for 9 weeks before returning to Townsville for further renovations.
“Stage one of our clinic fit out is complete – ready to begin outreach at the end of the next month. The next stages of the refit will include building an operating theatre, laboratory and an outpatient facility, ” said Mr Mulligan.
YWAM MSA Patron, Honourable Mike Reynolds said that deploying the MV YWAM PNG to PNG for the first time is something Townsville should be very proud of.
“North Queensland is the home base for Australia’s only Medical Ship.”
“The MV YWAM PNG represents hope for thousands of people in vulnerable communities just off our coast – as a region we should be incredibly proud and honoured to be sending the ship out this week,” said Mr Reynolds.
The MV YWAM PNG will spend five weeks in Cairns for routine maintenance before sailing to PNG at the end of April where it will be officially commissioned in the nation’s capital, Port Moresby.