Village Soup: A Floating Health Clinic with a Mission

Village Soup: A Floating Health Clinic with a Mission

Photo by Fran Gonzalez
Front Street Shipyard refits Sunbeam V
A floating health clinic with a mission

By Fran Gonzalez | Jun 03, 2019

BELFAST — The first thing you notice when looking at the Sunbeam V, a black and white 74-foot steel boat docked at Front Street Shipyard, is the large cross painted on the bow.

According to Graham Fitch, shipyard project manager, the vessel is a telemedicine missionary vessel with the Maine Seacoast Mission, which serves remote islands east of Boothbay Harbor where health care access and mainland resources are limited.

The Mission’s website says the large cross dates from the late 1930s, when the international situation made it necessary to designate the vessel a mercy ship.

Built by Washburn and Doughty in East Boothbay, Sunbeam V was launched in 1995. A 250-horsepower single-screw diesel engine powers the vessel, which cruises at 10 knots. With its steel hull, the ship also has been called on to serve as an icebreaker, clearing harbors and protecting moored boats from damage.

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