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Serco vessel set to become Vine Trust medical ship and help millions

Published: 19 Mar 2019

A ship that previously belonged to Serco is to become the latest medical vessel for Edinburgh-based charity, Vine Trust, and is expected to deliver over 2 million medical consultations in its lifetime. Vine Trust, who operate in Peru and Tanzania, anticipate the ship’s redesign to be completed and ready for deployment into overseas work over the course of the next 12-18 months. 

The 150-tonne vessel, formerly known as the SD Melton, will have medical consultation rooms, a full dental clinic, operating room, pharmacy and laboratory on board. The ship will also accommodate a medical team, including short-term volunteers from the Vine Trust.

The use of a medical ship provides a unique and innovative approach to strengthening health systems through the provision of primary healthcare services to isolated communities. Taking into account that many remote communities cannot travel to their nearest hospital, the ship will provide a safe and hygienic facility which can be accessed easily by patients throughout the year.

Having been involved with the Vine Trust since 2001, Serco’s Maritime Services business in Scotland has provided secure berthing facilities and engineering support at their Greenock base and volunteer crew for the long delivery voyages to Mombasa, Kenya and Iquitos, Peru. 

Rev. Willie McPherson, Vine Trust chief executive, said: "We are grateful for the vital support of Serco and for the opportunity that the acquisition of this vessel gives us going forward to change lives.”
“Over the coming months, plans are being prepared and we look forward to beginning the conversion of the vessel during the course of 2019.”

Phil Ireland, Serco Maritime Services Director, Operations & Growth said: “We are delighted to transfer ownership of the former SD Melton to the Vine Trust in continuation of our long commitment to supporting a great charity whose vessels deliver invaluable medical care to remote communities. Some of our team have supported the Vine Trust throughout since 2001 and we are now actively encouraging the next generation, from apprentices to qualified seafarers and shore side staff, to volunteer.”