Mercy Ships is celebrating the tenth anniversary of support from container shipping group Mediterranean Shipping Co (MSC) for free end-to-end supply of its hospital ships.

MSC Group has transported a total of 500 containers of essential supplies free of charge over 10 years to the charity's hospital ship Africa Mercy, and the partnership has been extended to its first purpose-built newbuilding, the 36,600-gt Global Mercy.

Through its charitable MSC Foundation, the Swiss-based shipping company has offered also free agency, storage and inland transportation services and its help has included building a wall of empty containers around the docked Africa Mercy to create a safe hospital compound.

MSC delivered supplies needed to build the Global Mercy which heads to Senegal in 2022 after final outfitting in the Port of Antwerp and a spring send-off from Rotterdam.

And the partnership was extended in 2019 to event sponsorships and programme funding that included a women's healthcare initiative in Sierra Leone and PPE shipments to Mercy Ships partners in 11 African nations during the Covid pandemic.

Mercy Ships said it has performed 19,740 surgeries and 218,100 dental procedures during the partnership, and founder Don Stephens added: "MSC Foundation is our lifeline, literally. They bring all our consumables. That means everything we use — for the galley, housekeeping, but especially the medical."

Diego Aponte, MSC Group president, said the carrier understood its global reach would be a perfect fit for Mercy Ships when it embarked on the partnership.

"What Mercy Ships has been able to accomplish as a result is truly extraordinary!" he said.