A SHIP that was originally destined for a life in Portsmouth Harbour has been given a new purpose.
The vessel has been transformed into a medical ship to set sail on a transatlantic voyage to the remote city of Iquitos, Peru.
MV Forth Hope was designed to be a ferry and make daily crossings from Gosport to Portsmouth.
However, the present Gosport ferry’s sister ship was never completed and didn’t enter service.
Vine Trust – a charity that provides medical, home-building and care support to Tanzania and Peru – purchased the vessel and refitted it for transatlantic use.
MV Forth Hope now has an operating theatre, dental surgery, consultation rooms and a pharmacy.
The Vine Trust team is hoping to provide two million consultations and treatments on board the vessel in the next 20 years.
After setting sail from Rosyth, Scotland and across the Atlantic Ocean, the vessel will head along the Amazon River – a journey of 6,600 miles.
To prepare her for the voyages, Forth Hope has been fitted with an ocean-going hull, making her suitable for sailing across the world.
She was named by The Princess Royal in May and was fitted out by Babcock and 30 private businesses.
Chief executive of Vine Trust Willie McPherson said the impact of the Gosport ferry’s sister ship could not be underestimated.
He said: ‘Vine Trust has always sought to make a significant and lasting impact on the people we support, offering effective help to vulnerable and isolated communities living in poverty.
‘The delivery of MV Forth Hope to the Amazon will double the current capacity of our Peru Medical Programme, enabling the provision of 100,000 consultations per annum, and provide invaluable primary healthcare services to remote riverine.’
Ian Donnelly, managing director of Babcock Rosyth, said: ‘It was a real honour for Babcock to be involved in such a worthwhile project.
‘Our team worked really hard to transform MV Forth Hope and everyone involved in the project should be very proud of what they’ve achieved.
‘Our relationship with Vine Trust is further strengthened through our homebuilding partnership, which offers our employees a volunteering opportunity to contribute to the charity’s work of providing homebuilding support to communities in severe poverty.
‘We wish the vessel, crew and Vine Trust all the very best with their important work and look forward to receiving updates on MV Forth Hope’s progress.’