MV Doulos (1977-2010) - MS Franca C (1952-1977) - SS Roma (1948-1952) - SS Medina (1914-1948)

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A superbly built American built ship that sailed into History and she remains with us to this very day!

With Reuben Goossens

Maritime Historian, Cruise‘n’Ship Reviewer & Author

Commenced in the Passenger Shipping Industry in 1960


A superbly built American built ship that sailed into History and she remains with us to this very day!

Please Note: All ssMaritime and my other related ssMaritime sites are 100% non-commercial and privately owned sites. Be assured that I am NOT associated with any cruise or shipping companies or travel/cruise agencies or any other organisations! The author has been in the passenger shipping industry since May 1960 and is now semi-retired, but continues and I hope that the well over 675 Classic Liners and Cargo-Passengers ships I have written on will continue to provide classic ship enthusiasts and continue a great deal of information and pleasure!


SS Medina (1914-1948) was sold and renamed: SS Roma (1948-1952)

MS Franca C (1952-1977) - MV Doulos (1977-2010)

Doulos Phos (2010 - ) A land-locked Hotel at Bintan, Indonesia

MV Doulos

“A Ship Like no Other”

By Reuben Goossens 

Part Two - 2008 / Chapter Two

Doulos in Brisbane from July 31 to Aug 18, 2008

And Departure for Sydney

MV Doulos arrives in Brisbane on a beautiful winters morning and gently glides past the Gateway Bridge

and heads along the Brisbane River towards Portside Cruise Terminal at Hamilton on Thursday July 31, 2008

Please Note: All photographs on this page, except for those that are marked otherwise, were taken by the author and are © Copyright 2008 - Reuben Goossens – These images are not permitted to be copied by any means or used on any media, be it for private or other media with written consent from the owner.

With the Doulos arriving in Brisbane on the very last day of July 2008, it was a very special day for me personally, for tomorrow I would be aboard at the official opening and spend much of the next 23 days aboard including sailing down to Sydney. I have been interested in this fascinating ship ever since I first saw her in 1971 when she was the luxurious Costa Lines cruise ship the MS Franca C. However, I only commenced writing on her in 1999 when she was the Doulos as by then she had truly become a true veteran of the sea. Today she is 94 years of age and she is officially the “World’s oldest Ocean going passenger ship,” according the Word Guinness Book of Records.

Later I will continue my report, however, as they say, “Pictures tell a thousand stories,” and indeed they do. Enjoy!

Photo Gallery - 1 to 19 August 2008


Dr. Daniel Chae PhD, Doulos’ Director during the official Brisbane opening on August 1


Captain Ashley McDonald provides some interesting information to all present during the official opening

Present were: The Honourable Mr. Paul Lucas, the Deputy Premier, and Councillor Mr. Norm Wyndham,

who had himself served on the Doulos many years ago


Opening presentation – The Korean Fan Dance


Official opening of the Book Exhibition/Store: From left to right, the author, the author Reuben Goossens

Councillor, Mr. Norm Wyndham, Doulos Director Dr. Daniel Chae PhD and Book Store Manager Mr. Joe Parker

Photograph Ships photographer – © Copyright 2008 -


Captain Ashley McDonald greets the author to the opening

Photograph Ships photographer – © Copyright 2008 -


The Book Exhibition/Store is open and in full swing!


Far forward on Lounge Deck is a new “International Café” which is open to the public

When the ship was the SS Roma owned by Italian company Cia Naviera San Miguel SA, registered in Panama, she made a single voyage to Australia with 949 Eastern European and some Germans onboard. She departed Bremerhaven on October 30, 1950 and arrived at Newcastle after a long and troubled voyage on December 18. Knowing that the Doulos would be I Australia for the very last time, we set out to look out for past passengers of that voyage. Although many thought they had sailed on her, it turned out that many Italians confused this Roma with the Flotta Lauro Roma that commenced sailing to Australia in 1951 and continued to do so until 1966, whereas this SS Roma only came once and only with Eastern European refugees. Thankfully we did find a good number of wonderful people, the two photographs below were both taken on August 9, but there were other days as well. I have a special page online with all their stories. You can reach it via the index.

Left to Right: The author, Annemarie, her sons Ron and Peter, Sven Benseler, Doulos’ Partner Ministries Manager

In front are her grandchildren, Brandon and Rebekah – In the VIP Lounge

Photograph taken by Marli Terelli - © Copyright 2008 -


Gana Ralph, nee Zygis, with Captain Ashley McDonald and the author – In the VIP Lounge

Photograph taken by Marli Terelli - © Copyright 2008 -


Although I had been onboard so many days, it was on August 17 that I officially boarded for my time and voyage on the Doulos

Photograph taken by Hun-Eng Tan - © Copyright 2008 -


A Short Tour of the Facilities in Port



The Compass Coffee Lounge – Starboard - looking aft

During the voyage, this is taken away and becomes part of the Main Lounge


The Compass Coffee Lounge – Starboard - looking forward


Main Lounge and Exhibition Hall


Mr. Hun-Eng Tan originally from Penang Malaysia stands next to the Malaysian flag and views the exhibition


In port the centre of the Main Lounge has a temporary cinema


The author out on Lounge Deck – Portside

Photograph taken by Hun-Eng Tan - © Copyright 2008 -


Lounge Deck – Portside – looking aft


 Children’s playground located far aft on Lounge Deck


Above: Promenade Deck aft Lobby, looking to port. The author’s cabin is located behind the left wall, which is cabin 21. My cabin door faces the one you can see on the right, which are the extensive family quarters of the Chief Engineer Mr. Dominic Bothello, his delightful wife Jung, and their three children. Their quarters consist of a number of separate rooms and several bathrooms as well as light cooing facilities. Families onboard are well catered for, with a variety of facilities available including schooling of course. Aft on Lounge deck is a superb safe play area. A photograph is seen above on this page. Now to my cabin which is like stepping back in time, to 1959 in fact!

My cabin – portside # 21 on Promenade Deck


The décor of this cabin and the furnishings are 100% 1959 Franca C

See the image below

 A twin bedded cabin from a Costa Line brochure

Note the wall colour scheme, the chest of drawers and the wall light fitting on the images below



The only change is a new white top to the chest of drawers dating back to 1959

Note the original 1963 Franca C brochure – The interiors are online on the Franca C pages


An original wall light fitting originally installed in 1959


Looking toward a large bathroom, which certainly was aging somewhat! – Shower to the right, WC to the left


The stainless steel reading light above my bed goes back to 1953


The view from my porthole whilst at sea


 My tag, cabin key, coffee mug and guest information leaflet



Plummer and welders area located port aft on Promenade Deck


 Plummer and welders shop


 Looking toward the welders shop


The Laundry – Starboard aft Promenade Deck


 Regarded as the “ancient spinner” - could date from 1949, but no later than 1953


The laundry 


Sorting racks 




 Fire Station No 3 Promenade Deck Starboard forward


 Fire station 3


 Fire Station #3 is right next to a special facility – see below!


I can smell something really good and I know why, for this is the door to the Bakery

The fire station can be seen just aft of the door


 This is Doulos’ Swiss born baker, Claire Bussy, and is Is that Strudel I see? Yes it is and it was delicious!!!


Bread and strudel, how good does it get on the Doulos

These are but a few of the photographs taken, but it provides an insight of my first few days onboard. The next pages will be far more detailed as they will contain photographs of the engine room and other interesting spaces, I will take you to bow section, being the carpenter shop to the very end of the propeller shaft, up to the bridge down to the depths of the dark and musky hold number 1. See the many deck signs dating back from the Franca C days, and her Dinning Room and Lounges and other spaces not yet seen.

In addition, there will be the various interviews with the crew and staff onboard the Doulos. Including Doulos’ Director Dr. Daniel Chae PhD, Captain Ashley McDonald, Chief Engineer Dominic Bothello, former and one of the longest serving Chief Engineers with these ships Alon Alva, Chief Steward Glenn Leaver, and a host of other wonderful people who will inspire us. All serve on the Doulos as volunteers and do so for two years each time and they keep coming back again and again.

Whilst onboard, I gave a number of lectures and provided the ship tour guides with updated information regarding the history of the Doulos as some if the information they had was frankly incorrect. Even the Passport that visitors receive showed that the Roma received new diesel engines, which of course did not happen until Linea C (Costa Line) purchased her in 1953. I can say that I was busy, both with hosting past SS Roma passengers on the various days in Brisbane as well as doing all the interviews and walking around the ship, which is no mean feat for me these days. My host onboard Doulos was Mr. Sven Benseler, Partner Ministries Manager and he was simply a wonderful host in every way possible and took great care of me.

During my time aboard I was able to befriend the ships Director Dr. Daniel Chae as we have so many things in common and the obviously same love for the ship and the desire to ensure its future. Be assured we will be working on it and I will continue to talk with the ships owners in Germany re this.

This page is now complete and we are about to set sail for Sydney on August 19.

Aft on the portside, up on Boat Deck, we find this superb beauty, the oldest lifeboat on the ship.

Although I am unsure of Boat #6 actual date, but all other lifeboats onboard are made of fibreglass.


It is all quiet up on the Bridge, for tomorrow morning we sail


Here is a preview of the Bridge, which is fully covered whilst we are at sea and we will see it in action!


The Telegraph at “Stop” – The next time we will see it – it will be at “Full” speed ahead!


 Doulos is ready and we see her here at “Full steam” ahead and we are heading south for Sydney


Thank You Dr. Daniel Chae PhD, Doulos’ Director & Sven Benseler (MV Doulos)

-I wish to thank Dr. Daniel Chae PhD, who is the Director of the MV Doulos and we spent some valuable time together in discussion and later he even placed a bid to but the Doulos, but due to various problems pulled out! But I am most grateful to Brother Daniel for we had a wonderful time-sharing the Scriptures in his quarters and I will never forget this!

--Dr. Daniel Chae

A very special thank you to Sven Benseler who made my time on board the Doulos in 2008 simply unbelievable! Sven lived on the Doulos and is was at that time signed on for two years together with his wife and their children were on board with them. He held a senior position on board and had an office on starboard side on what is know as “Main Street” or Main Deck. During my stay he was my official host and I was without doubt in the best, and most capable of hands! Beside the ship, which we both dearly loved, we soon discovered that we had so much in common and had a wonderful time together. Sven arranged for me to provide a talk on the ships History to the ships tour guides for obviously they could learn some additional information, which they did not know. However, whilst on board I also had two other opportunities to speak, but on very different subject, more in fitting with the Doulos’ message, as I am also involved in ministry!

Mr. Sven Benseler--

Thus thank you Sven for everything, for you made a superb event even better and I will never forget the wonderful time you allowed me to have on this, historic ship, which I had been on back in 1971 as the MS Franca C, and again a number of times as the Doulos in later years including for a considerable time in 1999 whilst she was in Sydney! But, this time I had more opportunities to cover every nook and cranny of the ship from the interior of bow at the carpenters shop to the very end of the propeller shaft, from the heights of the bridge to the depths of the engine room and hold No 1. Of course I also wish to thank the many wonderful volunteer crew/staff members who did everything to make my time on board and voyage so very special, for it was to be her very last ever visit to Australia!

Go to Part Three: ex 1950 SS Roma Passengers visit the Doulos in Australia - Aug 2008

Followed by - My voyage to Australia on the SS Roma in 1950 – by Paul Christmann - Aug 2008

Return to the Author’s – MV Doulos “A Ship Like No Other” Main Index


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Photographs on ssmaritime and associate pages are: 1. By the author. 2. From the author’s private collection. 3. As provided by Shipping Companies and private photographers or collectors. Credit is given to all contributors. However, there are photographs provided to me without details provided regarding the photographer concerned. I hereby invite if owners of these images would be so kind to make them-selves known to me, that due credit may be given.

Copyright: “MV Doulos - A Ship Like No Other” is owned, protected under the International © copyright laws and is the property of Reuben Goossens of No part of this work including any of the images shown may be copied or reproduced by any means or reproduced by any format whatsoever, be it for private or commercial usage, without prior written permission from the author. is owned and © Copyright by Reuben Goossens - All Rights Reserved.