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

Please Note: All ssMaritime and other related maritime/cruise sites are 100% non-commercial and privately owned. Be assured that I am NOT associated with any shipping or cruise companies or any travel/cruise agencies or any other organisations! Although the author has been in the passenger shipping industry since 1960, although is now retired but having completed over 700 Classic Liners and Cargo-Passengers Ships features I trust these will continue to provide classic ship enthusiasts the information the are seeking, but above all a great deal of pleasure!

Provided by

MV Doulos

“A Ship Like no Other”

From SS Medina built in 1914 to Franca C

& MV Doulos concluding her days in 2010

Important Notice: MV Doulos - “A Ship Like No Other” is an comprehensive historical account of an amazing ship by the ships official historian, however, it is important to note, that this is a 100% non-commercial and privately owned site as it is not connected with any organization and does not attempt to raise funds. In this work I make mention of the ships past owners, but the author has no direct connection with any of them. Although the previous owner, GBA/OM Shipping Mosbach Germany did use a great deal of the authors material in their books, brochures and video regarding the Doulos, as I was the ships historian and I have been kind enough to donate the material, but have never profited from same. In addition the current owners originally were allowed to make use of some images owned by the author again on a non commercial basis, but once they decided to change direction and landlocked the ship on an Indonesian Island as a tourist playground, I cut contact with them, as it was a breach of a verbal contract with me, and they are no longer permitted the use of same! Reuben Goossens.

The Main INDEX is below the Introduction

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Introduction: deals with one of the most a remarkable vintage ships ever built, a ship that had an enduring life that not only saw her transformed from a simple freighter, into a humble refugee ship, next a passenger liner and then into an all first class luxury cruise ship. She was finally sold at the great age of that very soon be a century old. Named the SS Medina, she was built in 1914, just two years after the tragic events of the Titanic in Newport, USA. Having served America as a freighter and during two World Wars as a faithful and heroic trooper and Trans-Atlantic supply ship, she was sold in 1948 to become a humble migrant and Refugee ship SS Roma that made a famed single voyage to Australia filled with Eastern European refugees. She was again sold in 1953 to become an Italian liner based on the South American service, but the company realised that she was the perfect for them and to convert her into a luxury all first class cruise ship, and the MS Franca C when she was completed certainly set new and high standards that are still being copied by major cruise companies today! During her time with Costa she received a number of refits and conversions, but she also received two sets of FIAT diesel engines. Eventually the time came, as Costa was obtaining newer ships they sold her to a Christian organisation who refitted her to become a missionary ship and floating book fair and shop. She was renamed the MV Doulos and her aft book hold was laden full with thousands of books, both secular and Christian, onboard some 350 volunteers sailed on her and would taking the Gospel story to countries around the globe, which continued from 1978 through to December 2009. She was sold on March 18, 2010 to a Singaporean, Mr. Eric Saw who sadly had her dragged up on an Indonesian Island to serve as a tourist Hotel and resort, which was not the purpose she was siold to him for, as he promised to use her for missionairy purposed and keep her afloat. She was also to become a fine maritime museum, but now her interiors are being very much ripped our to transform her into a hotel, etc, thus it is the end of our beloved Doulos, as she is now just a tragic looking land locked hotel, with her interiors destroyed!

This site honours what was, a ship has was an extraordinary freighter, trooper, refugee, migrant and passenger liner as well as a luxury cruise ship. But, she also saw active service in two World Wars and has sailed all the oceans of the globe *longer than any other motorised ocean-going ship in existence, for this ship she sailed the Americas, Trans-Atlantic and the world a full 95 years.

This vintage ship has had a long and fascinating story and having been sold a number of times she has been spared countless times from the blow torches of the Indian ship breakers, instead she was radically rebuilt over the years, for this reason her history will be fully explored in this work!

*The World Guinness Book of Records officially states that the MV Doulos was, when still sailing, the “Worlds oldest active passenger ocean-going ship.”

I trust that you will enjoy “MV Doulos - A Ship Like no Other because it is an amazing story. In addition, there are countless photographs; a great number of these were taken by the author, who has spent considerable time on board the Doulos whilst she was in Sydney in 1999 and then in Brisbane in July and August 2008 when staying on her in Brisbane for the duration of his voyage on her and his time onboard in two ports! Although I did have an encounter with the MV Franca C back in Italy in 1971, but then she was still the luxury cruise ship with excellent cabins and superb lounges and an elegant restaurant offering some of the finest cuisine possible, far from what is served in the Doulos’ galley the various times I spent on the Doulos. But it was at least wholesome! I certainly hope that you will enjoy the many great stories and memories of what is a small but a great ship in history of maritime development!

Reuben Goossens.

Maritime Historian, author and Lecturer

Official Maritime Historian of the MV Doulos.

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Main Index

PART ONE            Based on the Doulos’ visit to Sydney in 1999.


Introduction     A Ship Like No Other - Introduction regarding this amazingly Historic Ship!

Chapter One …       Part One - SS Medina - 1914 - 1940 - her history and World War I.

NEW Page …          Part Two – SS Medina - 1940 - 1948 - World War II until sold.

Chapter Two …       From Onions to Passengers - SS Roma - 1948 – 1953.

Chapter Three …     A New Beginning - MS Franca C - the liner - 1953 – 1959.

Chapter Four …      A New luxury Role - MS Franca C - the cruise ship - 1959, 1970 to 1977.

                          Brochures - MS Franca C - the cruise ship - brochures 1959 to 1977.

                          Menus  – Dating from Franca C - her very first cruises in Nov/Dec 1959.

                          Cabin Plan One - 1959 – 1970.

                          Cabin Plan Two - 1970 – 1977.

Chapter Five …       A New Role for a Grand Old Lady of the Sea - MV Doulos - 1977 -2010.

Chapter Six …        1993 Electrical Project - “Heart Transplant” in Cape Town.

Chapter Seven …    SOLAS - Safety regulations.

Chapter Eight …      Onboard Impressions - My visit to her in 1999.

Chapter Nine …      Doulos’ Mission - The work of OM Ships International.

Chapter Ten …        Doulos Goes High Tech - Satellite Dome/Dish fitted 2006.

Photo Pages …        Photo Page One - Sydney 1999.

                          Photo Page Two - Sydney 1999.




PART TWO           Covering the Doulos from 2008 to – 2010 & beyond.

                           The author joined the Doulos in Brisbane for a voyage & assisted her sale in March 2010!


Chapter One …       Doulos arrives in Brisbane - July 31, 2008.

Chapter Two …       Doulos in Brisbane - Aug 1 to 19 Aug 2008.

Chapter Three …     ex 1950 SS Roma Passengers visit the Doulos in Australia

                          My voyage to Australia on the SS Roma in 1950 - by Paul Christmann.

Chapter Four …      Doulos at Sea - Page One - Authors Voyage.

Chapter Five …       Doulos at Sea - Page Two - Authors Voyage.

Chapter Six …        Doulos’ Engine Room -Including: November 2007 dry-dock & propeller & shaft work.

Chapter Seven …    Speaking with Doulos Crew and Staff – Crew Interviews.

Chapter Eight …      Doulos in Sydney - Aug/Sept 2008 - Including Doulos’ 94th Birthday (22 August 2008).

Chapter Nine …      Her Final Australian & Asian Ports- September 2009 to March 2010.

Chapter Ten …        Doulos Deck Plan - These are current & up to date deck plans - NEW page.

Chapter Eleven …    Ports of Call - Genoa 1977 to Singapore 2009 - 2010.


MV Doulos was officially decommissioned on December 31, 2009. She was sold on March 18, 2010 to Singaporean Interests and she has now been dragged up on an Indonesian Island to become a resort. A sad end for a distinquished ship, now 104 years old (2019).



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 “Blue Water Liners sailing to the distant shores.
I watched them come, I watched them go and I watched them die.”


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Please Note: ssmaritime and associated sites are 100% non-commercial and the author seek’s no funding or favours of any shape or form, never have and never will!

Photographs on ssmaritime and associate pages are by the author or from the author’s private collection. In addition there are some images that have been provided by Shipping Companies and private photographers or collectors. Credit is given to all contributors. However, there are some photographs provided to me without details regarding the photographer/owner concerned. I hereby invite if owners of these images would be so kind to make them-selves known to me (my email address may be found on only), in order that due credit may be given.

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