Floating hospitals

The “hospital ships” sound wired, is it? But believes us, there are hospital ships! Today’s write-up is an interesting one on a topic that has not been discussed by Many. So let us find out what these hospital ships are and what is their purpose of them. Also, there is quite a number of these hospital ships. Let’s see what they are and how unique the service is.

What are hospital ships? 

The hospital ships are vessels designed primarily for medical purposes operated on the deep seas. These ships are used mainly by the Military, mainly the Navy of different countries. The history of these runs back to the Roman empire. Then British history has traces of these specially built hospital ships. In 19 the Century, the Royal Navy institutionalized the use of Hospital ships mainly due to the War situations in the world. The hospital ships are generally superior in the standard of service and sanitation. They served as the hospitals to treat the wounded troops during the war eras. Anyway, today also we see several ships with all the modern equipment, facilities, and highly skilled medical staff.

How to identify a hospital ship?

Usually, the hospital ships can quickly identify they are mostly painted in white. Also, anyone can easily recognize it due to the white Flag bearing the red cross. Mostly the ship interiors also have a blend of white. The furniture and all needed utensils painted in white give the feeling of an actual hospital.

Why hospital ships?

There are a few essential concerns when we think of the invention of Hospital ships. You may wonder why people need the hospital ships when they have the hospitals to go to. Worldwide, many people do not have access to safe, affordable, timely surgery. Most people in this category live in developing countries, where healthcare setup is limited or non-existent. Some countries have a shortage of trained healthcare providers.

But the good point, fortunately, more than 44% of the world’s population lives within 100 miles of the coast and near the beach. So, the companies with modern hospital ships bring world-class volunteer medical professionals and services directly to the places they’re needed most.

These ships are the most efficient way to bring a well-equipped hospital to regions where electricity, clean water, and medical facilities and personnel are limited or only a dream. It is a good move as Instead of trying to build the facilities people need to bring life-changing surgeries to ports around the world; these ships can provide a safe, stable, fully functioning hospital ship to help change the odds for thousands of people in need.

Then modern hospital ships

Apart from the hospital ships linked to the Navy, many civilian hospital ships exist. So here we have some interesting facts about the ten most popular hospital ships in the world. They work on humanitarian missions in serving humanity with the most advanced treatments where the new health care facilities cannot reach on land.


1. BH Papa Francisco

BH Papa Francisco
Credit: marinetraffic.com

It is a fully equipped hospital ship with medical and dental offices, an operating theatre, an ophthalmological room, a vaccination area, a treatment room, a laboratory, and an infirmary with patient beds. This hospital ship also has a wide selection of diagnostic equipment such as a digital X-ray, a mammography machine, an echocardiogram, an electrocardiogram, and an ultrasound scanner. The ship operates under the Flag of Brazil with highly skilled medical professionals and assisting staff. The ship started its career in 2019 and has served the community.

2. Julian De La costa

This ship sailed under the Spanish Flag and was built by the IZAR shipyard in 2006 in Spain. The social institution of the Navy owns it. The main objective of the ship is to provide support to the fishing fleet in terms of medical needs. The ship is equipped with modern medical facilities to treat 20 patients with all medical conditions.

3. Esperanza Del Mar

Esperanza Del Mar
Credit: ventuari

It is also a medical ship by the IZAR built-in 2001. The ship belonged to Spain, and this was the first hospital ship built in the country. The ship is specially made to survive in extreme weather conditions and provide medical support at the earliest when needed. It can well accommodate 16 patients at one go.

4. Nanyi 13

Nanyi 13
Nanyi 13

The ship sailed under the Chinese government. It was built in 2017 in China and operated by the Chinese people’s Liberation Army Navy. The unique feature is that this ship can transport an ambulance helicopter. The ship’s primary purpose is to provide medical assistance to the civilians and the military when needed. The ship is mainly used for national rescue, emergency rescue, and personnel transport. It is equipped with more than 100 beds and multiple medical departments with modern equipment.

5. KRI Dr. Wahidin Sudirohusodo

KRI Dr. Wahidin Sudirohusodo
Credit: Wikimedia

PT PAL Indonesia Company and sails have built this ship under the Indonesian Flag. The ship is built to support the Armed forces and civilians and accommodate 640, including the patients, crew, and the medical staff. The ship is operated by the Indonesian Navy and carries the medial helicopters and rapid support crafts.

6. Africa Mercy

Africa Mercy
Credit: Instagram

This ship that sails under the Maltese Flag was built in 1980 in Elsinore Shipyard in Denmark. The ship is well equipped with inbuilt super-advanced theatres and other medical facilities that can perform 7000 medical interventions each year.

7. The Irtysh

The Irtysh
Credit: wikimedia

The Irtysh was built in 1990 in Poland and sails under the Russian Flag. It is specially designed to treat the injured or the sick people and evacuate the ill people under exceptional medical guidance and facilities. The ship also provides the service of supplying medical facilities to the needed. The ambulance helicopter, which is ever ready on its helipad for emergencies, is a crucial feature of this ship.

8. Global Mercy

Global mercy
Credit: Instagram

This ship was built in 2021 and sails under the Maltese Flag. It is the largest civilian ship in the world. Global Mercy is operated by the Humanitarian Organization Mercy Ships. It has multiple facilities to perform a wide variety of services simultaneously and provide medical care to people who do not have access to medical care.

9. Daishan Dao

Daishan Dao
Credit: wikimedia

Daishan Dao sailed under the Chinese Flag and was built-in 2007 in China. This ship is famous as the arc of peace and belongs to the Chinese people’s Liberation Army Navy. The ship was built to respond rapidly to disasters worldwide with proper medical assistance. The ship has well-equipped modern eight operating theatres that can perform m40 surgeries a day.

10. USNS Mercy

USNS Mercy
Credit: Instagram

It is the number one medical or hospital ship in the world. The ship was built in 1976 in the United States and sails under the US flag. It was initially an oil tanker but converted into a hospital ship in 1984 after acquiring by the US. USNS Comfort is the sister ship of USNS Mercy, and both do the duty of providing medical facilities.

So dear readers, these are the top 10 hospital ships that provide an excellent service in delivering the needed medical facilities worldwide. Though most of us have not heard about this service much, is it clear that these hospital ships have been in service for a long time. We should accept and salute the immense benefit the floating hospitals provide.

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