A FULLY-equipped medical ship has set sail from Rosyth on an epic 6,600 mile transatlantic voyage to Peru.

The Vine Trust's MV Forth Hope is heading to the remote Amazonian city of Iquitos in Peru where it will provide life-changing healthcare services to isolated and vunerable communities.

With facilities including a dental surgery, operating theatre, consultation rooms and a pharmacy, the boat is the fourth vessel commissioned by Edinburgh-based international development and volunteering charity.

When it arrives, it will become a floating healthcare centre, enabling international medical and dental volunteers – alongside a team of local clinicians – to provide consultations, treatment and health education free of charge.

With a crew of volunteers, who have each donated their time, skills and experience, MV Forth Hope will complete a 6-week delivery voyage, sailing south from Rosyth to Las Palmas, before crossing the Atlantic Ocean to Macapa, Brazil, where it will then make its way along the mighty Amazon River.

Named by HRH The Princess Royal at Babcock’s Rosyth site back in May, MV Forth Hope will help Vine Trust and its local partners to achieve lasting and effective development where it is needed most.

Kenny Holt, Medical Programme Manager, says MV Forth Hope will enable the Vine Trust to significantly increase and enhance much needed primary healthcare services.

"This extraordinary vessel, outfitted with the support of Babcock and 30 private businesses, is expected to deliver more than two million consultations over the next 20 years to communities who would otherwise be without access to the most basic medical care," he explained.

The MV Forth Hope will join the Trust's other Peru-based ship, Amazon Hope 2, and will visit over 160 communities on the Amazon and its tributaries.

Vine Trust’s Chief Executive, Willie McPherson, says the impact of MV Forth Hope cannot be underestimated.

“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," he said.

"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 villages.”

Ian Donnelly, Babcock Rosyth's Managing Director, said it had been 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," he said.

“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.”