Nova Scotia man set to become chief officer aboard hospital ship in West Africa

Click to play video: 'One Nova Scotia man trades in oil drilling for volunteer work in West Africa'
One Nova Scotia man trades in oil drilling for volunteer work in West Africa
WATCH ABOVE: After spending decades captaining drill ships, one Fall River man is using his skill-set to bring medical attention to those in developing countries. – Aug 3, 2017

A Fall River man is embarking on a volunteer adventure to bring his “ocean skill set” to one of the world’s largest hospital ships.

“When I heard about Mercy Ships, it matched my skill set of being a master [mariner] and I thought that I would be able to give and also do what I do best, which is work on a ship,” said Mark Carew, a master mariner by trade.

Being a “master” means Carew is qualified to “command any vessel, anywhere in the world.”

He spent much of his career in the oil drilling business, as the captain of drill ships.

“Basically a drill ship is a thousand foot long ship with a hole in the middle and a drilling derrick on the top and we drilled for oil in up to 10,000 feet of water,” he said.

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Upon retirement, Carew was inspired to tap into his charitable side and has been running a soup kitchen in downtown Halifax.

Wanting to pursue further volunteer opportunities, he decided to search for something that would compliment his master mariner skills.

That’s when he came across a documentary showcasing the Africa Mercy. 

“You will see people with horrendous tumors, completely blind, all of these things and then at the end of it, they’re not cured but they’ve received medical attention and they know that they’re loved,” Carew said.

The Africa Mercy is a volunteer run hospital ship that belongs to the medical charity, Mercy Ships.

The crew provides free surgeries and medical training to thousands of people in developing countries.

Along with the volunteer medical staff, the ship’s crew is also led by volunteers, which is where Carew’s skills come into play.

“I spent most of my career working in West Africa and I saw a lot of poverty when I worked there,” he said.

Carew was selected to become the chief officer of the ship for three months, between the end of August and December.

He hopes his volunteer mission inspires others to “give back” however they can.

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“A lot of people I talk to want to volunteer, they just don’t seem to find the time but sometimes you have to make time,” he said.

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