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New 35m Vitters & Dykstra Sea Mercy support vessel

Design
Written by
Gemma Fottles

Dykstra Naval Architects and Dutch yard Vitters have teamed up to design a new 35-metre support vessel for the charity Sea Mercy. The Sea Bridge One project will act as the US & Fiji based charity’s “humanitarian mothership” upon completion.

Speaking of the unique brief, Gerard Dykstra explains: “Sea Mercy needed a vessel for their remote island program; a transport support barge, a floating hospital, an educational research & training vessel, a disaster response & recovery vessel, an economic development delivery platform, or a combination of some or all the above.

Our brief is normally high end luxury combined with performance,” continues Louis Hamming of Vitters, "but this project required a different mindset. To be able to contribute to such a worthy program as Sea Mercy is a real honor for us, and we hope our experience and technical expertise will mean that Sea Bridge One exceeds the operational expectations and demands put on the vessel.

The inspiration for the new support vessel formed in the aftermath of Cyclone Winston, a category 5 storm that devastated Fiji in 2016. Sea Mercy, operating with private cruising vessels, provided emergency relief to thousands of people in many communities in the immediate aftermath and up to five months after. Due solely to the generous volunteer efforts of cruising vessels in the area, Sea Mercy was able to restore essential services such as clean drinking water and solar power, and bring medical supplies and building materials to these remote and often ignored areas.

Richard Hackett, Sea Mercy President, has celebrated the collaboration and looks forward to the expansion of Sea Mercy’s capacity. “Although our volunteer yacht owners have incredible hearts, there is only so much you can ask of them and their vessels. They are and always will be the heart and soul of Sea Mercy. Our goal with Sea Bridge One is not to replace them, but to further empower and encourage their participation within all our programs.

Shipyards will soon be shortlisted, with Sea Mercy now in the final fund raising stage to finance the construction of this unique vessel.

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