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4. Preparing to Sail!

Updated: Feb 4

Island Reach - a medical vessel for the french speaking world plans to reach up to 100,000 unreached people on the east coast of Madagascar!

Early December 2021, the purchase of SD Melton by YWAM Ships Switzerland was completed. She was re-registered on the UK part one registry as m/v Island Reach and a volunteer crew delivered her to Conwy, north Wales. There she is wintering in a free berth provided graciously by Conwy harbour authority, and a volunteer team is overhauling her engine and all mechanical systems, to prepare her for the 8,000-mile delivery voyage to Madagascar.

During the January and February stay in Conwy, an outreach team from YWAM Burtigny, Switzerland stayed onboard Island Reach and ministered locally in conjunction with the local churches who embraced them.We are so grateful to EVERYONE who has helped in every aspect of the project so far, without these sacrifices of your time, effort and skill - we would not be where we are with YWAM Ships Switzerland.

Bringing Hope and Healing to the Nations

Madagascar is not an easy country to work in, providing great challenges to provide medical services both in land and around the coast. However, the Mercy Ministries team who have been providing free medical services for 15 years believe the vessel will greatly improve their ability to reach isolated communities and help them provide better health care.

Additionally, we are developing a partnership with Hover Aid, who are also working in Madagascar, which we believe could overcome some physical challenges both our ministries face in connecting patients to medical services quickly.

The research we have done so far (it continues as we seek more local advice) is guiding us on how we should equip the vessel, from fitting stern anchors to acquiring some portable sonar equipment to survey rivers

The Planned Conversion

As we examined the conversion of three previous vessels of this class into medical relief vessels on the Amazon and Lake Victoria, we finalised our own plans. We prepared new drawings to gain better quotes from the shipyard in Madagascar and are following up a suggestion to do the conversion in the Conwy area. The plan is to turn the aft hold into a dental suit, GP consultation area, pharmacy, and medical supply storage. The forward hold will be converted into an eye examination and surgery unit.

Above the holds, the hatches will be removed and plated over. There medical staff accommodation will be built, being four, twin berth cabins, plus extra shower, and toilet facilities. Above that will be awnings, where a canopy can be erected providing a waiting area for patients and recreation area for crew and staff during off times.YWAM Ships Switzerland exists to serve in the most isolated and disadvantaged french speaking islands


Is now complete! Celebrate with us - we have purchased the ship.


There has been a great amount of generosity providing medical equipment and volunteer labour in Conwy and beyond. This helps to keep costs down, however, we are seeking and applying for sponsorship to continue the project.

We are delighted that we have volunteer crews for the 8,000-mile delivery voyage, through the Mediterranean, Suez, Red sea and down the Indian Ocean to Madagascar. We also have experienced marine volunteers staying after delivery to get the ministry going and helping to train future local crews.

For this long delivery voyage we estimate we will have to raise £50,000 for fuel and port fees,


Finally, the installation of the medical units can be completed in Madagascar as the extra fuel tanks are removed.

After pioneering this ministry to Madagascar, we estimate we will need to raise £70,000 per year vessel running costs. We will be able to provide free medical services to around 100,000 patients per year.

Please say a prayer for this ministry and consider donating, making sure to let us know it is for the Island Reach project. How to Give

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