Mercy Ships executive director Bryce Wagner says the hardest thing he has to do is turn down people the charity could help.

“We need more volunteers, more ships, more Cargo Day initiatives because I don’t want to have to say ‘no’ to someone just because we don’t have the capacity.”

Doubling the Mercy Ships fleet though creates a headache for him.

“If I had both ships running today, I only have 60% of the crew. I have 95% of the medical people that I need, but I only have 25% of the maritime and technical people I need.

“I’d love to find a way we can create partnerships that we can get more maritime people that can come and help us. We need everyone: deck staff, engineers, a hairdresser, food services, a banker.”

Senior consultant marine operations for Mercy Ships Jim Paterson, who was chief engineer on the charity’s first ship, said Berge Bulk sponsor a second officer and Stena advertise internally for volunteers.

“We have a waiting list on the medical side, but it’s an ongoing need for qualified deck and engine officers and ratings.

“Not everybody is going to stay 33 years, like I did. Some come for a couple of years, but a lot of younger officers come for a few months' experience. Reaching the crew is a challenge.”