Rowboat to Promote HIV Testing Departs Brazil for New York City is a global campaign that is designed to encourage voluntary HIV testing. The campaign begins on World AIDS DAY 2013 and will be promoted during the Goree Challenge IV – Spirit of Malabo project.

Sao Paulo, Brazil, May 05, 2013 --( GC Media is the communications partner for the Goree Challenge. DESPACHO GERAL, a Santos based custom clearance agency for over twenty years, has successfully navigated the protocols for shipping the Spirit of Malabo to New York. The vessel departed Saturday on MSC Krystal, a container ship operated by Mediterranean Shipping Company. The estimated travel time is approximately twenty-three days.

Victor Mooney of Queens, New York will use this vessel to row solo five-thousand miles from the Canary Islands to New York’s Brooklyn Bridge with a resupply in the British Virgin Islands later this year to help encourage global HIV testing. This will be the rowers fourth bid.

The US Preventative Services Task Force, a group of health professionals that advises the US government says all Americans should be offered a HIV test when they visit their family doctor. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 5 Americans with HIV are still unaware they’re infected.

“I have no desire to conquer the ocean, but just ask the father [God] for permission,” said Mooney.

In 2011, Mooney, a devout Catholic, miraculously survived 14 days in a life raft with no food after his boat sunk. The rower was eventually rescued and brought to Sao Luis, Brazil. He was attempting to row from Cape Verde to New York. Pope John Paul II, known now as Blessed John Paul, blessed Mooney in Rome for his mission.

Today, an estimated 34 million people worldwide live with HIV/AIDS, with more than two-thirds living in developing countries. Nearly three-fourths of the 2.5 million new HIV infections in 2011 occurred in these countries. More than 1.1 million people in the U.S. are infected with HIV and hundreds of thousands don’t know it. Mooney has lost one brother to AIDS and has another battling the disease.

The Spirit of Malabo was designed by Roberto Barros and built by Flab - Construção Artesanal de Embarcações. The project received support from the U.S. Consulate in Sao Paulo, Prefeitura de Santos and a blessing from Archbishop of Sao Paulo, Cardinal Odilo Scherer. DSV - Global Transport and Logistics is coordinating the local formalities and delivery upon the Spirit of Malabo arrival in New York.

Goree Challenge IV – Spirit of Malabo is a project of the New York City based South African Arts International (SAAI). SAAI has received a generous donation from the Republic of Equatorial Guinea and unprecedented amount of in-kind and moral support from over seventy corporations, an array of governments and global health institutions.
GC Media
Lisa Samuels