A 65-metre supply vessel, the MV l’Astrolabe, has been acquired by YWAM Medical Ships for their work in Papua New Guinea (PNG).
The MV l’Astrolabe, soon to be renamed the MV YWAM Liberty, will be the fourth vessel to be deployed by YWAM Medical Ships into PNG, joining the MV Pacific Link and the MV YWAM PNG which are both currently serving in PNG, and the MY RUACH, due to join the fleet later this year.
Director of YWAM Medical Ships PNG, Mr Ken Mulligan, said that the acquisition of the MV YWAM Liberty represents hope for tens of thousands of people with critical health and training needs in PNG.
“The healthcare challenges in PNG are very unique because of the remoteness. In collaboration with PNG’s National Department of Health and provincial health authorities, we’ve reached hundreds of remote villages with healthcare and training through both the MV YWAM PNG and the MV Pacific Link.
“To have four vessels serving the remote coastal and island regions of PNG is nothing short of a miracle, it shows what is possible through collaboration and team work,” said Mr Mulligan
Mr Mulligan remembers one little girl named Mandy who was blind at six years of age due to cataracts. “To see the joy in her parents faces as she had surgery on board the ship that restored her sight after three years of being blind was an amazing privilege.”
And the privilege extends to thousands more. Since 2010, YWAM Medical Ships have delivered 648,062 healthcare services and training to 145,567 people.
Director of YWAM Medical Ships PNG, Mr Brett Curtis, said the operations of the vessel will be a collaborative effort between national and provincial health authorities, YWAM Ships Kona and a range of YWAM centres from around the world.
“We recognize that the dream and vision on our hearts cannot be done alone – there are so many other people that have strengths and resources that they bring to the table. Working together around a shared vision is what I believe will make this venture a success.
“In addition to our colleagues in Townsville and Newcastle, Australia, we will have partners joining us from Norway, Singapore, and New Zealand. It is an exciting time to dream together about what could be!” said Mr Curtis.
YWAM Medical Ships Patron for Papua New Guinea, Sir Rabbie Namaliu, also expressed his support of the new vessel, saying he is delighted to see YWAM’s work expanding in PNG.
“Over 84% of our population live in rural areas – our medical ships are helping to combat isolation by accessing remote villages with healthcare and training.
“The MV YWAM Liberty large cargo capacity and helideck will enable us to deliver supplies and access even more remote areas via helicopter – this truly is an exciting expansion,” said Sir Rabbie.
The MV YWAM Liberty is due to arrive into Townsville, Australia for the first time on Friday. YWAM Medical Ships PNG will be re-purposing the vessel over the coming months in preparation for her maiden voyage to PNG.
Major supporters of YWAM Medical Ships include the PNG National Government, Puma Energy, Steamships Trading Company, PNG Ports Corp, Manolos Aviation, Oro, Morobe, Milne Bay, Central, Gulf, Western, East Sepik, Madang, West New Britain and East New Britain Provincial Governments, Sohe and Kiriwina-Goodenough District Development Authorities, Samaritan Aviation, Fred Hollow’s Foundation, Pro-Ma Systems, Trukai and the Australian Aid program.