Mercy Ships (YWAM Shipping Co.)
This company is of course no cruise or ferry company as the other ones at the site. The company is the former shipping department of the Youth With A Mission organisation, which is now operating as a seperate entity. The organisation was founded in 1960, after Loren Cunningham had a vision while on holiday at the Bahamas in 1956. In his vision, he saw how waves crashed over the earth and turned into young people, able to tell the world about Jesus Christ. Cunningham thought about an organisation that would sent young people all over the world after High School to find a purpose in life just before College. This was the basic idea for the organisation, some four years later. In 1960, two people in their twenties had a road built in Liberia to a leper colony as the organisations first official mission. Just three years later, the organisation had 20 volunteers and worked in places like the West Indies, Central America and Hawaii. In 1967, they opened a hotel and the School Of Evangelism in Lausanne, Switserland, which became the base of the YWAM.
The YWAM Mercy Ships was opened up in 1979, when the former Lloyd Triestino liner Victoria was bought and renamed Anastasis, which is the Greek word for Resurrection. The founders of the ship division of the organisation were Don and Deyon Stephens. The inspiration for the company came from the international hospitalship the ss Hope, which served the Project Hope from the People To People Health Foundation between 1960 and 1974. This ship had been the former US Navy hospitalship USS Consolation (AH-15), built in 1945. Also when Don Stephens disabled son was born, he knew that a floating hospital could serve ports in the world in countries in desperate need for good healthcare. Anastasis was used in this role, but she also served as a floating church and her portstays were mostly very lenghty ones. Also, it was possible to take a tour around the ship in every port she visited, to get more information about the YWAM organisation.
In 2006, Anastasis was retired. Originally, she would have been replaced by a ship named Caribbean Mercy, but because the rebuilding time was so long, she was given a short second life and was finally replaced by the Africa Mercy, which is the former Danish train ferry Dronning Ingrid of 16.500 tons. In 2007, after the last mission of Anastasis in Ghana, the pioneering ship was sold to be broken up, after serving the company well. This was just a few years after the YWAM Mercy Ships seperated itself from the central organisation as an independent brand.
Recently announced, the company is going to built a new ship from scratch under the name Atlantic Mercy, which will enter service in july 2017. The ship will almost measure 40.000 tons and will be the largest non-governmental hospitalship in history.