Mercy Ships and Costa Group celebrated the official start of the memorandum of understanding which has been recently signed. The agreement is aimed to develop synergies in different fields with the objective to support the accomplishments of Mercy Ships. According to this agreement Costa Group will develop specific activities in the following areas:
• Promoting Mercy Ships tasks on board the 26 ships of the Costa Group fleet (Costa Cruises, Costa Asia, AIDA Cruises) to sensitize its guests;
• Create a volunteer program for Costa and AIDA staff and crew on board the Mercy Ships;
• Offer the opportunity to officers and engineers with Mercy Ships to gain sea-service/experience on board Costa Group ships and provide them with nautical expertise.
A first sign marked the shake-hands ceremony in Madrid: in fact, on top of the cooperation that will focus on long-term projects, Costa Group made an immediate donation of 100,000 € to advance the mission of Mercy Ships, bringing hope and healing to those in need by helping to fill the gaps in healthcare systems of developing countries.
The charity organization Mercy Ships operates the hospital ship Africa Mercy, which is currently operating in Cotonou – Benin, West Africa. Volunteers from over 40 nations are currently serving onboard the Africa Mercy, which was launched in 2007 and built specifically for the Mercy Ships mission. It is the largest non-governmental hospital ship in the world. This donation will go to support more than 1,700 life changing surgeries provided by the volunteer surgeons on the Africa Mercy while docked in Benin.
Michael Thamm, CEO of Costa Group explains: "Collaborating with organizations devoted to the same goals has always been key to us. We are happy to partner with Mercy Ships who provide invaluable medical services to where they are needed the most and where we can make an impact in a meaningful way." The partnership will enable selected crew members of the Africa Mercy to work onboard the Costa Group fleet to renew the nautical licenses required to operate ships. In return, crew members of Costa Group can apply for a voluntary stay on the Africa Mercy. "For Costa Group it is important to create a working environment that enables our employees to actively take part in volunteering activities," describes Thamm. "We are looking forward to sharing our knowledge with the crew and in return have the chance to learn and grow."
"We are extremely glad to sustain Mercy Ships organization. We believe that their efforts in saving lives and relieving the suffering is something that should be supported through concrete help. For the same reasons in 2014 we gave birth to the Costa Crociere Foundation." stated Neil Palomba – President of Costa Cruises. "Today's donation and the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding are the first step of this concrete aid. Furthermore by delivering the knowledge of their noble initiatives to our guests and employees, I am sure we will be able to give a brighter future to a growing number of people."
Don Stephens, Mercy Ships Founder/President said, "We are so grateful for the partnership we have with the Costa Group. This will be a unique partnership which engages their employees/crew and passengers in supporting Mercy Ships and our programs and together we will leave a lasting legacy in the nations we serve."
Ricardo Menzies, Mercy Ships Spain Chairman said: "We are grateful to Costa Group, a leader in the cruise industry, as they continue to support us by encouraging staff volunteerism, by telling their passengers and the general public about the need in Africa, as well as what can be done about it. This support is vital to the Mercy Ships effort to make essential surgeries available to many of the world's neediest people."
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