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 Eight

Doulos final Visit to Sydney

MV Doulos at sea and Sydney bound- from the Bridge

Please Note: All photographs on this page, except those noted, are by the author or an associate aboard and all- are copyright 2008 - Reuben Goossens –

Thursday, August 21, 2008:

As I wake I am well aware that we will arrive in Sydney this morning, thus I headed off for an early breakfast. Yet, I was well aware that sadly my 23 days aboard the Doulos, that commenced in Brisbane and then some time at sea and a day in Sydney would end in Sydney tomorrow Friday 22, 2008.

After breakfast, I watched from ar forward of Captain’s Deck as the pilot came aboard the Doulos on her port side and used a rope ladder and boarded on Promenaded Deck.

 The pilot boards climbing a rope ladder, the old-fashioned way, on the port side - August 21, 2008

For everyone who had come out on deck o watch the pilot board, we were all aware that it was a beautiful and a bright and sunny day, but we will all remember that it was an extremely cold wintery and a typically windy day, catching most unaware, including myself, for Brisbane had been so delightfully warm! The Doulos soon gracefully sailed through Sydney Heads, and as she was nearing the city I headed far forward of Boat Deck where I met my dear friend Dr. Daniel Chae PhD and together we watched Doulos gently sail up the harbour, whilst ferries hurries here and there and helicopters were buzzing above filming the 94 year old Doulos for tomorrow she would be officially 94 years old, thus she would be great TV News!

This is the Director of the Doulos, Dr. Daniel Chae PhD, a wonderful man, and I spent a tremendous time with him

More on that on the “Interviews” page - Chapter Seven

There was quite a crowd on deck, as well further forward and above on Captain’s Deck from where a extra large Australian flag was draped and other Australian flags were flying! Along the starboard side of the ship there were volunteers with flags representing every nation of those who were on board! It would have been an amazing sight from ashore! Soon we slowly sailed past the sunlit Sydney Opera House and under the Sydney Harbour Bridge and we headed for Darling Harbour where we berthed at berth 5.

The author forward of the Bridge on Boat Deck - with staff proudly flying the Australian flag 


 Am I showing it, yes it was very cold and I did end up catching much more than a chill!

After our arrival and the gangplanks secured the ship was soon cleared, but before visitors to the Bookshop can come aboard the ship had to be prepared and it takes a full day for the ship to be set up. Also soon trucks arrive with boxes of fruit and vegetables that were donated by a wonderful faithful farmer and it was certainly gratefully received by everyone on the Doulos! This was a very busy day for the crew and volunteers, thus I generally ventured around the ship taking further photographs, and on this day also it was safe to enter the engine room as well as other spaces. Thus I kept busy in order to obtain as many fine photographs as possible of my beloved Doulos! After the evening meal, I gave another study to a large group in the main lounge and it run quite late, thus it was a big day over all! I also had to pack, for sadly tomorrow, I would have to leave and head home.

Friday August 22:

The next day at 10am was the Official Opening and International Show in the Main Lounge, being much the same as it was in Brisbane, but this was very different for today we had the official ceremony of cutting the Birthday Cake being Doulos’ official 94th.birthday of her launching as the SS Medina on August 22, 1914. With myself and Sven Benseler and a number of other officials have a go at the cutting ceremony Then. This would be followed by the ribbon cutting at the aft on Boat Deck in the huge Book Exhibition/Shop, but this time I did not photograph it, as I already photographed this ceremony in Brisbane.

You will find that each photograph will continue to tell the story of the arrival in Sydney, etc, but I will return further down the page. 

Photographs taken on Thursday August 21, 2008


Having tied up in Sydney, I ventured aft on Promenade Deck and this is one of my favourite places 


As we can see, everything is well kept and maintained


 A spare rat catcher hangs on the wall


 We are securely tied up!


 These stairs lead up to the enclosed Children’s Play area


Stephen Moore took this photograph of the Doulos on the 21st.just prior to meeting me ashore

Photograph by & 2008 Stephen Moore


The Doulos lit up at night on the 21st


 How beautifully does this Counter Stern show up at night?


 Another photo of this wonderful stern!


Remembering the Launching of the Ship 94 Years Ago on August 22, 2008


The official cutting of the 94th.Birthday Cake of MV Doulos’, ex MS Franca C, SS Roma & SS Medina 1914


The author and “Partner Ministries” Manager Mr. Sven Benseler officiate in the cutting of the 94th.Birthday Cake

This cutting, will be done again and again as everyone desires a photo with the cake, will it ever be really get cut?

Yes it does, but not until an hour later by the baker!


The Doulos’ Official Opening and International Show for her stay in Sydney on August 22. 2008

Left to Right: Captain Ashley McDonald, Mr. Joe Tripodi then Minister for Ports and Waterways,

Mr. Phil Costa, another Minister of NSW Parliament and Dr. Daniel Chae PhD, Doulos’ Director


The “Parade of Nations” during the official Opening


The Korean Fan Dance is just one of the many showcases!


 A group photograph of volunteers and the author at the conclusion of the Opening Ceremony

Note a clearer view of the “94” on the cake

As I sad earlier, today was my last day onboard the Doulos, but worst still the very last time I will ever see this historic ship afloat again! As soon as I had the opportunity, after my official commitments, I went about to take my farewell photographs of the ship. However, I will take with me incredible memories that will last forever and I pray that the photographs provided on these pages will provide you the readers and ship lovers, great joy and enthusiasm for maritime history, as obviously the Doulos being the oldest ocean going passenger ship left in the world until 2010 is a unique ship indeed!



Overlooking the Foc’sle


 A beautifully riveted hull and a shapely bow


 A fine view of her mid section


Another great view of her Counter stern 


 An aft view of the MV Doulos


 This is my very last ever photograph taken of my beloved MV Doulos on this freezing cold day in Sydney, being her birthday!

The following photographs were taken by my good friend Stephen Moore, who provided most of the photographs on the “1993 Electrical Project” page. I briefly met Steve whilst ashore whilst taking a few evening photographs in Sydney on the 21st and he returned to the ship at later date and took some further shots, as well as meeting up with past SS Roma passenger Mr Paul Christmann, who’s story is part of this feature.

Another cold Sydney day, but a delightful stern view of the Doulos 

Photograph by & 2008 Stephen Moore


By now I had gone home to Brisbane and finally there were blue skies shining over the Dolous

Photograph by & 2008 Stephen Moore


Another fine study of the “Grand Old Dame” as seen from across the harbour on September 2, 2008

Photograph by & Glenn Towler


Doulos says Farewell to Sydney for the last time!

I found Doulos’ visit to Sydney was rather disappointing, for whilst she was in Brisbane well over 23,000 people came to visit the ship, however whilst she was in Sydney for the same length of time, there were only 12,000 visitors! Thus, as an Australian I was disappointed with Sydney’s turnout for obviously the local’s and the media did just did not understand, or realise that one of the greatest ships in Maritime History was in their city and berthed in their harbour for three weeks, and that could never return again. This was certainly a great opportunity lost!

However, everyone aboard the Doulos put a good spin on everything, for they are just the most wonderful people you will ever find anywhere in the world, for they are so appreciative of the all those who did come to visit the Doulos whilst she was in Sydney and they thanked them for coming and trust that they gained something special from their visit! Many told me that they made some fine new friends!

The Doulos departed Sydney on on Monday September 8, and she sailed around the bottom of the south coast to the Port of Geelong Victoria, where she arrived on Thursday September 11. The were excellent crowds awaiting her as well the Victorians being so very friendly as one of the crew wrote me and said, “Reuben, it was wonderful, for they are just like the people in Queensland!” The next port of call was Albany and then Doulos headed for her final port in Australia, Fremantle (Perth). And everyone knows that the Western Australians are always great hosts!

Below are two fine photographs of the Doulos’ departing Sydney on Monday September 8, taken by a good friend of mine, Phillip Massaad.

September 8, 2008 - MV Doulos departs Sydney for the very last time ever!

Photograph by & Copyright 2008 - Phillip Massaad


MV Doulos receives a grand send off from a Sydney fire tug. Farewell Old Girl!

Photograph by & Copyright 2008 - Phillip Massaad


Thank you to my photo contributors: Stephen Moore, Glenn Towler and Phillip Massaad.


Thank You Dr Daniel Chae, Sven Benseler & Captain McDonald & all the Douloids

There are some very special people I wish to thank the following on board the Doulos. The ship’s Director, Dr. Daniel Chae who was always so helpful and he has a great desire to see the ship survive! We had I fine time together discussing the ship and the Scriptures during my time on board! However, how can I ever forget my delightful host and now good friend on board, Sven Benseler and his lovely wife Mirjam and their delightful children, Joshua & Samuel. They made my stay on board very special and I soon became part of the Doulos family! Also, there was the delightful ship’s journalist Marl Terilli, who took great care of me whilst I was on board and thank you for the delightful times we had chatting during mealtime with your husband at supper time. Not to forget, two very special people, Dominic Bothello the Chief Engineer who always made me smile and I always want more time with this wonderful man and his delightful family! And the ever effervescent Filipe the Project Coordinator, who was a delightful young man with a heart desire to learn more and more and to take in all that, is good! May the LORD bless you and thank you for all that you have given me! I also wish to thank Captain Ashley McDonald who was most generous with his time, allowing me on the Bridge as we departed Brisbane and giving me an interview in his private quarters.

To all the crew and staff on board, thank you for your outstanding hospitality and cooperation, and for giving me the freedom of the ship whilst I was with you on the historic Doulos, a ship I have been personally associated with since 1971.

Doulos Post 2010:

I recall discussing the future of the Doulos with both Dr. Daniel Chae and Captain Ashley McDonald regarding my vision for her after 2010. This vision has now come to a realisation and the ship was sold on March 18, 2010 to Mr. Eric Saw & Family in Singapore who are Directors of “BizNaz Resources International Pte Ltd.”

She is to be renamed “Doulos Phos.” She was sent to the ASL Shipyard’s in Batam where she has been undergoing a lengthy retrofit to become a Hotel, but the sad truth is that the beloved historic will be dragged on land and “dry-berthed” on the Indonesian tourist Island “Bintan” to become a playground and not what I as promised by her owners when I assisted them in 2010. It is the end of what was a fine ship, now she is just a pathetic building for Asian tourists!

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

Covering her voyage to Geelong, Albany, Fremantle, East Timor, Malaysia,

Philippines, Taiwan, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore (sold in Mar 2010!)


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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.