MERCY’S VESSEL was built in 1970 by Blount Boats, Inc of Warren, Rhode Island. The original name was ATLANTIS and she served as a day trip fishing vessel operating off of New Jersey and New York. Newer, faster boats limited her financial viability, and she was put up for sale. For more details on her past, see the sub-page MERCY’S VESSEL Past.
The vessel is 110 feet long with a 25 foot beam and is 91 gross tons. Her propulsion is two Detroit Diesel 16V71 engines, and she has two Detroit Diesel 271 generators, each of 20kw capacity. As built, the fuel tank holds 2000 gallons.
After purchase in March 2015, the boat was moved from New Jersey to a marina on the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal. It was registered under the name MERCY’S VESSEL to reflect its new mission in life of being a ship of mercy carrying hope and help for the sick, broken, and lost. We spent the summer removing extraneous material and equipment, and then chipping, scraping, and priming the weather decks. One side effect of owning a boat with a steel hull is the painting is never done; just when you think you are finished, it is time to start again.
Hot, dirty work..but a labor of love after priming
We hosted an open house in late September. It was a huge success with about 40 guests visiting. Once that was over, we went to work overhauling the starboard main engine. After we finished, a certified Detroit Diesel technician did some final adjustments on the starboard engine and then he worked on the port engine. When he left, both engines were in tip-top shape. MERCY’S VESSEL’s engines are ready for service.
The priming of the weather decks and engine work are the beginning phases of modifying MERCY’S VESSEL for service on the mission field. Our next objective is to take her to a shipyard in New Jersey where she will be lifted from the water so the hull can be cleaned, inspected, and then prepared for painting. The fuel tank capacity will be increased to about 5,000 gallons, which should give us about a 1600 mile cruising range. We have a few sea valves to repair or replace. The last item on the shipyard work list is to construct the wing berthing. We want to put 9 bunks on each side of the current superstructure for the evangelistic team members to sleep. Extra bunks will be filled by members of the medical team and others who will meet us at the mission site. Of course there is an extensive work list for us to accomplish while the boat is in the yards. This includes things like working on upgrading the pilot house (the wiring reflects 45 years of service), installing a new fresh water system, installing a much larger sanitary tank, and so on to make the ship able to house and transport up to 28 people. The ship is to have air conditioning installed. To power that we will need to add an additional electrical generator. The task ahead of us is monumental, but we approach it with all confidence that God will provide the human and financial resources when needed.
The Lord gave us a beautiful day for a transit to the shipyard. We left the Summit North Marina in Bear, Delaware about noon on Thursday July 7th, transited down the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal to the Delaware Bay and on out to sea. We reached the open ocean a little before 7 pm. Weather and seas were calm, with about 2-3 foot swells. We took the ship about 60 miles off shore to give it a good run during the night. We arrived at Ocean City, New Jersey Friday morning and then transisted up the Tuckahoe River for about 12 miles to reach Yank Marine, the shipyard that will start the major conversion process. The next two videos show us following the guide boat through the Ocean City harbor and up the river. Don’t let the river video fool you; the river channel is very, very narrow…outside the channel the water depth is 2-3 feet, and we need at least 7 feet of water.
Up the river to the shipyard
Positioning for the lift….
Starting to lift…the man with the device in his hands is the one controlling the crane. He lifts the boat and then drives the boat around
Driving around the shipyard to be put on blocks