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Doulos drops last anchor

The MV Doulos, the world\\\'s largest Floating bookshop and oldest ocean going passenger ship, ends its ministry. Photo by Ian Worby

On 31 December this year it will be the end of an era for a faithful servant.

The MV Doulos is the world’s oldest ocean going passenger ship. It is 95 years old, with the hull built in 1914, just 2 years after Titanic. For the last 32 years, Doulos has been a major part of the Operation Mobilisation (OM) ships ministry travelling to many ports around the world spreading the Gospel message through its volunteer missionaries on board. The Doulos is also known as the World’s largest Floating bookshop.

Jonathon Rodwell, the National Director of OM Australia said that the Doulos is probably better known in Australia than the name OM, with people knowing the Doulos extensively. “It has been a great shock to us and to many people who have been associated with it for many years.”

The ship has been in Singapore undergoing its annual period of dry dock and surveys. The OM classification society was doing a 5 year survey of the ship to ensure its safety and viability to continue in service. Mr Rodwell explained that the main work identified was that one of the decks on the main deck needed to be replaced, despite the all year round maintenance.

Taking into account the amount of steel replacement and other repairs needed for her to continue sailing, early indications are that the work would cost over €10 million (10 Million Euros) and take 5 months to complete.

The OM Ships executive leadership team and board believes that is not appropriate to invest resources of this scale into the ship, since Doulos would have a limited ministry future. Chief Executive Officer of OM Ships International, Peter Nicoll said, “The outcome of this is that Doulos will not be able to continue in ministry.

"This is not what any of us wanted, and has serious consequences for everyone on board, those about to join and for ports we planned to visit.”

“We are committed to operating safe ships and complying with the requirements of our classification society, RINA, as well as the International Safety Management requirements for ships,” affirms Peter Nicoll. “We have been praying that God would use this five-year ‘special survey’ to give us a clear picture of the way forward for Doulos and that He has done.”

Over 300 people currently serving on the Doulos are coming to terms with the news and are currently evaluating their next move.

Jonathon Rodwell has asked for prayer for the staff and crew on board as they seek God’s voice and also for the continuation of the ministry.

OM is committed to a 2 ship ministry and the senior leadership team of OM ships ministry are also seeking God’s voice in making the decisions about the next stage of their ministry journey.

Photo : The MV Doulos, the world\\\’s largest Floating bookshop and oldest ocean going passenger ship, ends its ministry. Photo by Ian Worby