Ship ahoy! A lifesaver docks in Gladstone

MEDICAL ship ahoy!

One of the country's significant healthcare vessels will sail into Gladstone today.

The MV Ammari will dock at the Gladstone marina for three days.

The community is invited aboard to meet the crew and tour the catamaran.

Operated by Youth With A Mission - Medical Ships Townsville, it will soon be the only medical ship providing health services in Papua New Guinea where 1 in 13 children die before the age of five and daily five women lose their life during childbirth.

The five-month YWAM Townsville's Overcoming the Impossible campaign is supported by the Gladstone Ports Corporation which is providing free wharfage for the MV Ammari.

The organisation is trying to raising $5 million for the ship by December 4.

Managing director Ken Mulligan said the ship would spend 11 months a year in PNG from next year.

"When you meet these people and see how they live, and how much they long for hope, it really puts things in perspective," he said.

"One lady we saw travelled for two weeks in a dugout canoe with her husband and three small children.

"She was blind and desperate for help."

He said the team performed basic ophthalmic surgery onboard. As a result she saw her three children for the first time.

"When I hear stories like that, I just think - how can we not do this?" he said.

The MV Ammari will be open to the public at the marina tomorrow and on Sunday from 10am - 4pm.

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