Swedish ferry company Stena RoRo has announced that it is offering the Stena Saga cruise ferry as a hospital ship amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Due to health concerns and travel restrictions, Stena Line permanently closed Stena Saga’s Oslo – Fredrikshamn route and the ship was transferred to its sister company Stena RoRo.

Stena RoRo said that it can convert and adapt ships based on the requirements of the situation. The company has previously built hospital ships.

Stena RoRo CEO Per Westling said: “At a shipyard in China, we are currently building the world’s largest civilian hospital ship, the Global Mercy, on behalf of the international charity Mercy Ships.

“Our project manager for the Global Mercy is back in Sweden and will lead any possible conversion of the Stena Saga.”

Stena Saga has 590 passenger cabins and, based on the design plans, the ship can accommodate 520 patients after conversion.

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Stena RoRo project manager Rikard Olsson said: “To meet the requirements for medical care, we need, among other things, to rebuild the ventilation system, install alarms and communications systems and also change the interior furnishings.

“In addition, patients and crew must be able to be kept apart. We can do what needs to be done in two to three weeks.”

This ship will not be used for patients who need intensive care. Stena RoRo said Covid-19 patients who require hospital care can be accommodated on the ship.

Westling added: “There may also be a need for beds for patients who have left intensive care but still require medical care a while longer. Probably, it is mainly a matter of being able to relieve the load on conventional hospitals.”

The ship is now docked at the port of Uddevalla in Sweden.

Last week, Stena Line announced plans to lay off 600 employees with 150 redundancies in the UK and the Republic of Ireland.