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Scots charity ship in epic 6600-mile Amazon journey

The Rosyth-built MV Forth Hope will become a floating medical centre in Peru.

Ship: MV Forth hope has been fitted with medical facilities.
Ship: MV Forth hope has been fitted with medical facilities.

A Rosyth-built ship run by a Scottish charity has almost completed an epic 6600-mile journey to become a floating medical centre in the Peruvian Amazon.

The MV Forth Hope is sailing up the South American river to the remote city of Iquitos to help fight malaria and other tropical diseases.

Originally designed to be a short-haul ferry, the 114ft vessel was purchased by the Vine Trust and fitted with an operating theatre, consultation rooms and a pharmacy.

It is now around 900 miles from its final destination after crossing the Atlantic Ocean and travelling upriver from Macapa in Brazil.

Forth Hope: Ship named by Princess Anne and Rev Wille McPherson is travelling to Peru.
Forth Hope: Ship named by Princess Anne and Rev Wille McPherson is travelling to Peru.

The charity says it will give life-saving support to people living in isolated communities on the banks of the Amazon who have little access to medicine.

Forth Hope, which was officially named by the Princess Royal in May, can provide around 100,000 consultations each year, with treatment and health education coming free of charge.

Kirk minister Rev Willie McPherson has been on board the ship since it left Fife six weeks ago.

Medicine: Communities on the Amazon have little access to healthcare.
Medicine: Communities on the Amazon have little access to healthcare. CC by Sasha Grabow / Cropped

He said the impact of Forth Hope, which will join existing vessels run by the charity, "could not be underestimated".

Mr McPherson 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 and provide invaluable primary healthcare services to remote riverine villages."

'You could say Willie is like a modern day Noah.'
Albert Bogle, Vine Trust

The minister was involved in renovating the charity's fleet of vessels and turning them into medical ships.

The Vine Trust was set up by Albert Bogle, a former Church of Scotland moderator, and uses medical volunteers.

Mr Bogle said: "You could say Willie is like a modern day Noah. He's building ships or arks to save some of the poorest people in the world.

"It's not a bridge too far for MV Forth Hope to sail from the Forth bridges to the Amazon in just over 40 days and nights.

"This has been another epic voyage and the church is proud to tell the story of an extraordinary minister of the Gospel."

https://stv.tv/news/east-central/1389168-princess-anne-names-amazon-bound-medical-ship-in-fife/ | default

The vessel was fitted with the support of shipbuilders Babcock and other private businesses, and is expected to deliver more than two million consultations over the next 20 years.

Ian Donnelly, managing director of Babcock's Rosyth site, said it was "real honour " for the company to be involved in the project.

He said: "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."

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