First Mercy Ships Volunteer Comes Onboard a Ship in Carnival Corporation's Costa Group

Costa offers the opportunity for Mercy Ships officers and engineers to gain experience onboard Costa Group ships
Mar 21, 2018 5:45 PM ET

March 21, 2018 /3BL Media/ - As part of the cooperation announced in 2017 between Mercy Ships and Costa Group the joint volunteer program is proceeding with the first Africa Mercy crewmember embarking onboard Costa neoRomantica.

Rodrigo Souza Fraga, a 38-year-old Spanish national, embarked as a 3rd Officer onboard to gain experience and time at sea. Reporting to the ship’s officer on watch, Rodrigo is serving as a member of the bridge staff for navigation and watchkeeping.

Rodrigo is the 2nd officer aboard Africa Mercy, the largest nongovernmental hospital ship in the world providing free surgical and dental care to patients with urgent medical needs. Its crew consists of over 400 volunteers from more than 40 nations. The Mercy Ship delivers surgical expertise for 10 months at a time in African ports, sailing to and from new destinations each year to maximize time in port. As a result, time spent at sea for the crew is much less than on similar ships.

"My time onboard the Costa neoRomantica is very challenging yet very fulfilling,” said Rodrigo Souza Fraga. “There are many positive aspects of the daily work that I am learning about and that will be beneficial for Mercy Ships. But what gets my attention the most is how well people are trained. At the end of this four-month commitment I will have the opportunity to upgrade my officer's license. Being able to spend a substantial amount of time at sea is helping me sharpen my sailing skills.”

The volunteer program is just one of several activities that Costa Group and Mercy Ships agreed to in their recent partnership. The group will also introduce guests traveling onboard the Costa Group fleet regarding Mercy Ships and its activities. In addition, to grant immediate aid Costa Group has donated 100,000 euros to Mercy Ships.

Mercy Ships

Mercy Ships uses hospital ships to deliver free, world-class healthcare services, capacity building and sustainable development to those with little access in the developing world. Founded in 1978 by Don and Deyon Stephens, Mercy Ships has worked in more than 70 countries providing services valued at more than $1.3 billion, treating more than 2.56 million direct beneficiaries. The Africa Mercy is crewed by 400 volunteers from up to 40 nations, an average of 1000 each year. Professionals including surgeons, dentists, nurses, healthcare trainers, teachers, cooks, seamen, engineers, and agriculturalists donate their time and skills to the effort. With offices in 16 nations, Mercy Ships seeks to transform individuals and serve nations one at a time. For more information click on

Costa Group

The Costa Group is the leading cruise company in Europe, headquartered in Genoa (Italy). The 26 ships of the brands Costa Cruises, AIDA Cruises and Costa Asia together have a total capacity of 76,000 beds. The fleet will be further strengthened by 7 new vessels by 2023. The company has a global workforce of 27,000 employees working onboard and in its 20 offices in 14 countries. In 2014 the company introduced the Costa Crociere Foundation, an independently-run, non-profit organization generating a positive impact on the society and the marine environment, currently through 22 ongoing projects.


Costa Press Office - Tel. +39 010 5483523/010 5483068 –

Gabriele Baroni – Communication Director – mobile 3497668013 –

AIDA Cruises: Hansjörg Kunze, Vice President Communication & Sustainability, Tel. +49 (0) 381 / 444-8020,

Diane Rickard; Int’l Media Relations Manager Mercy Ships;