MV Doulos (1977-2010) - MS Franca C (1952-1977) - SS Roma (1948-1952) - SS Medina (1914-1948)
Please Note: Firefox & Google Chrome not suitable - Use Internet Explorer or Google for this page to load perfectly!
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
MS Franca C (1952-1977) - MV Doulos (1977-2010)
- ) A land-locked Hotel at
“A Ship Like no Other”
By Reuben Goossens
Speaking with Doulos’ Crew and Volunteers
oldest ocean-going passenger ship rarely visits first world countries, but is
During my month and fascinating time aboard, I was able to provide a talk on the history on the ship to the ships official tour guides, providing them with additional details and information, as well as several giving other meetings of a more spiritual nature, which is also a part of my life as many of my readers will know. In addition, my time was spent taking many photographs of every section of the ship as these new 2008 pages will prove. As well as dong interviews with a several of crew and staff members onboard, all are on the Doulos on a volunteer basis and have signed on for two years, but have been with the ship, or other ships for many more years. There are some that join the ship on a short-term basis, from as little as two weeks (but only when this is available), or two months. Their stays aboard are usually sponsored by their respective Churches or other Christian groups or a business. This will include the Captain, First Mate, Chief Engineer, to a Deck Hand, etc. The ship has around 350 people onboard, hailing from some 50 different nations, and what is so amazing as I spent tome aboard is the harmony that prevails around the ship! All receive accommodation and meals in the communal Dinning Room and everyone is allocated a specific job that they may have applied for or a job that they are suited for, be it a Chef, Baker, Helmsman or the Captain, Bible teacher, or a Cleaner. All on the Doulos are equal and eat the same simple food in the same place. It does not matter if you are the Captain or a Deck hand, in God you are all one – “Doulos” a “servant”! One thing that I did learn from all onboard is that one thing everyone learns is “patience” for obviously with people from so many different nations and backgrounds come differences and everyone needs to adapt to each other’s needs. That is what makes this ship so uniquely Christian, and this is why I have noted that when visitor’s who leave the ship after their visit, are so impressed by the special hospitality that they have received whilst they were onboard. No, there was no one swinging a Bible at them, but there was a spirit of harmony, love and hope, and that is what the Doulos is essentially all about.
My host onboard
the Doulos was the wonderful Sven Benseler, a German electronic engineer, who
is living and working on the ship with his wife and two small children. His
official capacity onboard Doulos is “Partner Ministry” Manager. I
asked him about the ships bookshop and he told me that the ships bookshop has
over than 6,000 titles for sale with around a half a million books in total
onboard, just under one third of these are Christian books, but the remainder
are fiction, children’s books, cook books, educational, business,
language, music, and books on general knowledge. In places such as
It is noteworthy that the Doulos is non denominational and it represents many denominations and its aim is to bring a message of help, hope and knowledge to the world, especially to poor and isolated lands where the Doulos gives away many educational books and other needs to schools and it aids to build villages, etc. It is indeed a work of hope!
I was told a
story, which had originated from Captain Graeme Bird, who had left the ship in
Although the ship is owned by a Christian charity organisation and that is well known, however, she sails to many countries were she has been made welcome, for it is well known that she comes with no hidden agenda’s, as the Doulos is virtually “An open book!”
Director - Dr. Daniel Chae PhD -
Director - Dr. Daniel Chae PhD -
RG. Daniel, my first question is; “How and when did you get involved in this wonderful and special ministry?”
“It was in
1978 that OM’s first ship the Logos visited
RG. May I ask, what is your main role on the Doulos?
“As Doulos’ Managing Director I am to hold things together, but as you know, the work on the ship is a collective structure, for the ship’s name says it all “Doulos” means “Servant” and we are all servants of the Lord and we work together as a team and we are all equals aboard. Thus, I serve the Lord and the community as their director.
A director is various things:
Pastor: In a way I am the senior pastor of an
As this is a huge operation and that includes financially as well. The second
part is management, for it is like being a
3… Ambassador: My third role is being an ambassador to State, Government, City officials as well as Christian leaders when we visit various ports. I have great pleasure of being able to entertain them and tell them exactly what we do and of course we pray to our Heavenly Father that we may get some additional assistance and help from them, and honestly, governments worldwide and here in Australia, as they have done in New Zealand and all the ports we have visited during our World voyage have been exceedingly wonderful, especially port authorities and so many companies and other sponsors who have given us so much. And they all know how grateful we are, blessed be His Name!
When we were in a non-Christian country, but there was a large Christian population, one of the leaders of the country spoke to me and he said that if all these Christians came together and had a big festival and advertised it, they would not get such media attention and attract such a massive crowd as the Doulos does. The truth is, this ship is old and the people onboard are mostly young and we are very well received by almost every country, regardless of the religion or political ideology of that country. The Doulos has now sailed to 144 countries and some 580 different ports, and thus I am to be Doulos’ ambassador when we arrive in every port.”
RG. May I ask you Daniel, could you provide me a story that would best be described as a “highlight” of your service to date whilst you have served on the Doulos?
Please Note: I have decided to remove some details, including names of ports and counties, although I have not been asked to do so. But as OM Ships continue to sail, I have found it to be diplomatic to do so! Reuben Goossens.
Obviously there are so many incredible stories I could tell you, but one comes to my mind immediately. When we were in a certain port the permission to enter a nearby country was suddenly cancelled three days before our scheduled departure. Now we knew that we could not stay any longer in this port, and worse still we had no other place to go. But the Lord was in charge of the situation already and He prepared the way, although it was unknown to us at that time!
Helen and I wanted decided to leave the ship and spend several days away in prayer and fasting in relation to this situation. So we left the ship and went to a house that was made available to us and there we did our Bible studies, prayed and fasted and sought the Lord!
The next the day
we went for a walk for about an hour and came to a place where we saw big house
with a huge garden. Helen said, “It is so beautiful out here in the
middle of this arid place,” for it was a dessert like region, and here
was this fine garden, so big, lush and beautiful. The next day, we went for
another walk and again passed the same garden, but this time we saw a lady
working in the garden and Helen spoke up and said, loud enough for her to hear,
“Your garden looks so nice” and then the lady turned her head and
we realised that she certainly was not a gardener, but someone from the house
and most likely part of the family. The lady walked towards us and asked if we
would like to have a look which we did and she even took us into her beautiful
mansion. I introduced ourselves and said that I was from the Doulos, although I
did not say that I was the ships Managing Director. In reply she said,
“Our country did a very bad thing to you.” She told us a story
(deleted). She then gave us a name and a phone number of a special high-ranking
staff member in the
Doulos Director Dr. Daniel Chae PhD a wonderful man of God and I spent a tremendous time with him
along the coast of
Photo taken by a volunteer © Reuben Goossens
Later we went back to the lady in the garden, who happens to be from what turned out to be the richest family in the country. We went to give her two of our very finest garden books, and as we arrived there she was in the garden. When she was us she said that it is a miracle that she was in the garden again, for she never works in the garden, but as one of her gardeners had fallen sick for the second time in a week she decided to come out and water some plants and it has only happened on the two occasions when we happened to come by. I call that the Lord preparing the way, for he knows all things, he knew that we would decide to go and pray, go for a walk and pass that house and that Helen would fall in love with that garden, that a gardener would be sick on that day and the lady be there, that this lady would be there and so gracious and that she would have the right contact!
But, Reuben it amazes me, even the first time we met, she was so gracious, as she not only showed us her beautiful garden but also the inside of her magnificent house, such wonderful hospitality! Now, to do that to two Asian strangers you have never met and me just dressed just in a pair of shorts, out for a quick walk during a time away from the ship for a special time of prayer and fasting. I give God all the glory, that He prepares the path and even brings special ladies into a garden at the right time and in the right place, “for all things work together for good!”
RG. Some people might say that the Doulos is a Hit and Run Ministry, what do you say about that?
They may be quite
right, we are hit and run, but with a big difference. Let me hive you an
example. We were in
Captain Ashley McDonald on the Bridge
An OM Publicity photograph
In this Interview, I will show the first question I posed, but will allow the Captain to speak and I will add a few comments in between his interesting statements.
RG. Ashley, tell me how did a true blue Australian Royal Navy man become the captain of the oldest motor passenger ships still sailing the globe?
“I was serving in the royal Australian
navy and I was already thinking of leaving. Alison, my wife, had been on the
Doulos years earlier whilst the ship had been in
Captain McDonald believes their deliverance
from the typhoon down to the power of prayer. One of the almost 400 committed
Christians on board the ship, he joined her with his family to help with its
missionary and humanitarian work. As the Doulos is operated by the German
charity organisation “Gute Bucher fur Alle - Good Books for All”
and “OM – Operation Mobilization,” she is like a floating
bookstore crewed by volunteers, currently 24 of them are Australian. The Doulos
throughout her career has sailed the world's oceans donating books to
Captain Ashley McDonald in his office and cabin after our conversation on 20 August 2008
Photograph © 2008 Reuben Goossens
A former officer with the Royal Australian
Navy who served on patrol boats and destroyer escorts, Captain McDonald joined
Doulos eight years ago (2000) with his wife and their then only child. Two more
children and countless ports later, the McDonalds will leave the ship in
December 2008 in
“However, I came on board as the
navigating officer but was eventually made captain. I saw it as a way of using
the professional skills and knowledge I picked up in the navy to serve God and
do humanitarian work. That's the same for everyone else on board. It's
inter-denominational, in other words we have every brand of religion here. On
the ship, no one knows what religion anyone is. It's not important to us, so
you don't get any sense of division.” The Doulos turns over half its
staff each year, with new volunteers arriving in two intakes. “We're
taking on about 70 new recruits from all over the world who have been to a
training conference in
The McDonalds family have sailed to Africa,
Asia, the Pacific, the Mediterranean and Black Sea, visiting between 40 to 50
countries during their time on the ship and along the way helped with water
supply projects in
There are no official chaplains or pastors on board the Doulos. The religious ethos is a given because, “If you came here with any other sort of motivation or commitment, I think you'd find it tough.” Said Captain McDonald.
“We're not commercial. We're not about making money. It's not what we do. We want to create a positive experience for people who come to this ship and let them know about the life of God and get supporters to join us. Almost without fail, people who visit, and we have thousands through the ship when we visit a port, get a sense of something very special happening here.”
Captain Ashley McDonald greets the author to the opening
Photograph Ships photographer – © Copyright 2008 Doulos photographer
said that it's not a free ride for the volunteers on board, who in their own
way pay for their board and lodging while on the ship.
Captain McDonald said that it's not a free ride for the volunteers on board, who in their own way pay for their board and lodging while on the ship.
“They usually raise sponsorships from their Churches, organisations or companies, family and friends. Those who heed the call to join the Doulos usually remain for their full term.”
“However when the Doulos arrives in Western Australia on October 10, 2008 it is time for us to leave the ship, It will be strange having the same view out the window every morning (says Captain McDonald from his private quarters on the Doulos located just below the Bridge. I have some ideas about what I want to do, but right now I am so focused on what we're doing right here and now that I haven't really thought about home a great deal, it is just that we are talking about so many things right now.”
Smooth sailing Captain!
Chief Engineer - Mr.
Dominic Bothello -
Here we the ships engineer Dominic, who became my dearest friend on board as well as his dear family!
Before I met Dominic in his office I had already spent some time with both him and his beautiful South Korean wife Jung Youngsung and their children in their spacious accommodations, which just happened to be right across from my cabin door. Families onboard has extensive facilities which may have three or even four interconnected cabins with at least two bathrooms as well as other special facilities. As I have already indicated in the previous chapters, there is a school onboard as well as an excellent playground and child minding and baby sitting facility, etc, but usually families dine in the Dinning Room mostly have their own designated table with their own condiments set up, including their favourite Asian ones, etc. I certainly came to love this remarkable family, and this special man whose knowledge of the ships machinery was so vast, for he knew just what made the ship tick!
Before commencing the actual interview with Dominic we had a long chat about the ship and her many features. This or that could have happened, but it did not, “Why?” he asked, and continued; “Reuben, I tell you, it is because we always pray before going to work. We never start work without having prayed and asking the Lord for guidance and a helping hand! And brother, He is always with us. The ship is 94 now, and her engines are 38 years young, and as you can hear, it is running so beautiful!” And indeed the fiat diesel engines ran so quietly and as I stated before her exhaust was as clean as could be!
RG. Dominic, I know that you know this ship like the back of your
hands, thus how long have you been on board her, but first how did you first
hear about the Doulos or OM/GBA? (
“I had never heard anything about OM
(Operation Mobilization) and their ships, but in 1981 their first ship the
Logos came to
RG. How long have you been onboard this time?
“Just on two years.”
RG. Now tell me, when you started working on the Logos 2 and the Doulos you were a single man, and I know that you are a very happily married man with four wonderful children. When did all that start?
“I was still on the Logos 2 in 1998 and
I prayed to the Lord, for I began to realise that I was working so hard, I had
little time to look for a wife. But, God has His plans and soon I met my
beautiful Jung Youngsung and got married and we now have four children.
Although I have a house in
RG. Obviously you will have gone through many experiences since first joining the Logos 2 in 1996, but is there one moment, one event that stands out above all others that you would like to tell me about?
“My biggest highlight was to see people healed and an almost lame man walk in Mozambique three and a half years ago, after giving a message in a big Church and at the conclusion I gave the call knowing that the Lord would touch the lives in need, whoever needs prayer to come and receive prayer and the healing power of the Lord Jesus. The Lord never fails, but the very last person to come was a man who could hardy walk as he was on crutches and required help, his legs were like sticks. Thank you Lord, after prayer he was able to stand without those crutches and he threw them away and was able to walk freely praising His Holy Name!”
“Another highlight was more recently in
I continued to chat
with Dominic for a while and it is obvious that he is a man of amazing faith
and determination. Whilst I am writing this, he is in
Jung Bothello and baby –
Jung Bothello and baby –
Long serving ex Chief Engineer - Mr. Elon Alva - Australia
RG. How long ago did you join
“I joined in 1985, but I first walked onboard the Logos in 1971 as a 14 year old Indian boy and even as a youth I can trace my beginnings to that day, for having been around the ship and certainly been touched I prayed to God if I could work on this ship. I prayed with great sincerity, and I can remember even standing on a particular deck praying that prayer. But as I left the ship, in due course I forgot about it, but obviously God did not. It is a long story how I got into marine engineering, for it was not my first choice, for I was not even thinking about it, for going to sea on commercial ships was not my kind of life, especially being a Christian, so what I did was I tried to study as much as possible and I went to London for a couple of years. Then someone from OM came to the Church every now and then and occasionally spoke to me personally about joining, but I said no for I was going back to India, but he said that there may be something for me in India. However, I did end up joining the Logos in 1978 as Chief Engineer and as history proves she ran aground ten years later in 1988.”
RG. Elon what happened on that fateful night?
It is a long story, but in short. We left the
RG. What was your most interesting and memorable experience to date?
Obviously there have been many, many experiences, but for me the greatest motivation is the contact I have with people in the way I believe God has allowed me to see other people grow, which is something I have enjoyed so much and that excites me the most, the growth in others, it is also a challenge for me as it has forced me grow also in the Lord and as a person!
Chief Steward -
Glen Leaver -
RG. Glen when did you first get involved?
“It was in August 1997 when I was
onboard for seven weeks in the galley, but then I signed up again for another
two years in 1998 for two years after which there was a four year break and my
wife and I came back again in 2004 and have been around until today. So I have
been involved with
RG. But what got your interest to go to sea?
“It was an elder in my Church he had known many people who had been on the Doulos before and I had come toward the end of my apprenticeship as a chef and I was wondering what I should do with my life, and what would be next, and from my questioning came the interest came about the Doulos. The more I learned the more I realised it was right.”
RG. What did your wife think about you joining the ship?
“We came to the Doulos as singles. She
came in 1996 joining in
RG. What was you most interesting and memorable experience to date?
“Interesting, could describe many things! My experiences onboard is more with the ship, thus my ministry is not so much with the public but make sure things function. But one thing that does stand out was when we were in the Gulf, at Muscat Amman were we were giving out some flyers to some locals about the ship being in town, and there was this Arab family having this BBQ or picnic and we gave them a leaflet and they invited us to sit down. For me this was strange, but one of the other guys with us was a German and he remembered from the orientation that being invited was an honour and to refuse would be an insult, so we sat down and talked and they gave us some nice food and tea, etc. It really stuck me, for here we were receiving what I considered to be the ancient style of Biblical hospitality from people we had never met. I learned later that Arab cultures are one of the last cultures to show this kind of hospitality. We show hospitality to our families and friends, but for strangers who you may have only just met and talked to and ask you to join them for a meal was a real challenge to me and showed me how we should live as believers in the Lord that we should do this even more so! South Africa is a land of such diversity and extremes, there is either great wealth or those who have hardly anything, and we went to an overnight settlement, although they just call them settlement, and as we arrive the first thing I see as we drove in that some were cooking up some sheep heads in big pots over a fire, and I thought no, I could not possibly have to eat any of that, no never, but fortunately it turned out that was for the dogs. What a blessing! What I had forgotten for a moment was that the ship had sent out food with us anyway, but sometimes the people make food to honour those who came and you must no dishonour them and not eat it. But the memory I take from that place is, that the believers who live in places like that in ministry, living in really horrendous conditions, no electricity, no running water, but their humility and their love for God is just overflowing and although they many not have their houses and cars and holidays, they are totally content living in their surroundings and with these people as they share their love of the Lord, and that touched me so greatly. They asked me ones, “What do you think when you see us in this situation,” I said, “Well I am humbled.” Thus seeing the realities of the world and the work that is being done in the Lord, that also makes my work on the Doulos so special and at the same time it is an important ministry.”
E-Team Coordinator - Joy de Pano - Philippines
Joy De Pano
is a delightful and a most happy 34yo single lady who has a position on the
Doulos that carries a great responsibility. However, she does all this with a
joyful smile! I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Joy as we chatted in the
Joy De Pano
is a delightful and a most happy 34yo single lady who has a position on the
Doulos that carries a great responsibility. However, she does all this with a
joyful smile! I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Joy as we chatted in the
RG. Joy how did this venture sailing on a Christian ship start for you?
“It all started at my home Fellowship and my Mission Pastor had been on the Doulos as a Missions Coordinator and he suggested the Doulos. But I was not really interested for I do not know how to swim and do not feel that comfortable with so many foreigners as where I live we do not speak English and on the Doulos everyone must speak English, so I was not at all interested. Also, I did not want to leave my country, for that is what you do if you joined the ship. But my Pastor said, just go and check it, and when I did check it and looked at all the requirements and noted that there was also a lot of support available and that there was a real challenge available. I knew my God and I had a heart for missions so by coming to the ship it was God’s calling and He did open the doors widely and I joined in September 1999. It is strange, for the Doulos had been many time before, but I have never been to see her before, others had gone, but I had no interest whatsoever, and now here I was onboard and suddenly, I was working on her! For the first 19 months I worked in the Pantry, but the leaders observe all workers and eventually I was asked to run the Short Term Program, which is for people who come for two months to experience the Doulos. After that I went home, but I was asked to come back for another two years to continue the Short Term Program. When my four years was finished I thought my time on the Doulos was over, but to my surprise they invited me back to run the Intensive Discipleship Course Programme onboard. This is the discipleship training offers those onboard the Doulos special two months sessions. I ran those for one year and then there was a need for an evangelism theme department and I have been running this department since May 2005 until the present.”
RG. What do your responsibilities entail?
“I am responsible for all ministries that happen ashore; including the daily teams that go to prisons, hospitals, orphanages and some street work. In addition we have Church teams and sport ministry, practical and helping people, thus sending teams where there is a need.”
RG. That is a huge task!
“Yes, but on this ship that is what we do, we bring Knowledge Help and Hope!”
Line Up Manager -
Seelan Govender –
RG. Seelan everyone seems to have a different story
to tell on how they became involved with
“In July 1995 I was living at the time
RG. How did your find it at first, considering your own African background and the multitude of nationalities and backgrounds onboard. Did you find you had to learn patience?
“A laugh: Defiantly! To say that I came prepared, certainly not! The first cabin mate I had was a very outgoing Brazilian and everything he said and did, he did in a very loud and a passionate way, and I did not understand it for I am very quiet and an introvert by nature. It was a tough few months to adjust for my first few months onboard. But, the lesson I learnt is patience and loving one another, even amongst the differences that we may have.”
I went home South Africa and got married in March 2004 and we rejoined as a couple in 2005, and we now have a child and she is seven months and is currently the ships youngest crew member.
I am the Line Up Manager and I oversee the advance line up teams that go into the ports. They go ahead for up to three four or even five months in advance and plan for the ships arrival. Their main goal is to shape the ministry, including connecting with Churches and organisations etc.”
RG. What has been your highlight whilst on the Doulos?
“For me it was that I took the Line Up for the Doulos to (blank), for everyone has this concept of (blank) and the levels of corruption there, and I remember there were just the two of us in the Line Up and we had said from the beginning that we would never give a bribe to anyone, no matter what that may mean for us, for we were determined that was not the way God would us to work. We spent a lot of time in prayer and we had to go to immigration for we had not yet obtained the visas for all onboard required. Thus Peter and I went to the Head office of Immigration and saw a very stern faced lady and spent five minutes with her. She asked “What do you want”, Peter explained and I took out the book and said this is the Doulos, and she said “OK goodbye, five minutes that’s enough.” Peter and I looked at each other could not make out what to think of it all. But we got news that we got the Visa. But the local chief decided that he could make a dollar out of it, and when we went he said that the Visas would cost $14,000, because I am doing this and how much are you going to give me? I said excuse me? If you want your Visa you have to pay me. I said, “As a principle love the Lord Jesus I am a believer in the Lord Jesus and this is not the way I live my life, so I am making the decision, because I am the team leader, we would pay a $14,000 fee, but we will never pay a bribe to you.” And I said that and he said and you will not get your visas. When we got back to our accommodations I said O Lord was I too ambitious, have I made a mistake? After much prayer, we received the news from the advisor of the department that we got the visas. And the visa chief came onboard and had a wonderful time.
The other things that is so special, when I heard about the ship it was all so different from expectations. You would think about a modern ship with the finest facilities, instead we have a very old ship that once nobody wanted and was going to the breakers, and here it is 94 years old and still going and over 21 million people have come onboard her have been so blessed, by the spirit that is onboard her, but the ship itself has that extra something about her that seems to touch and bring people, and I am glad that I am part of it!”
Head Teacher - Cindy
RG. Cindy, it is so nice to see someone a just little more senior onboard, how did you come to join the Doulos and venture so far away from home?
“About three years ago my husband passed away having been ill for some time with cancer. After that I spent a year adjusting to a new life having to be single again, and I asked God what I needed to do with my life. Soon after I received an email from a missionary who we had supported before and he said that he was a chef on a ship and he said that they needed more teachers. God really spoke to my heart and called me to be a teacher on this ship, but I said no I can’t, for I am too old, I have my family and what would they think? Well, I had all the excuses you could think off! Yet the Lord God challenged me and gave me Bible verses showing me that I was not too old, that I was in the middle of my life and years and that He would provide His work. I felt led to sell my house as it was really too big and I did not want to ask for support, but again the Lord showed me that I should ask for support, he said do you not want people to pray for you, of course I did, and as they did, they would ask, and how can we help, and thus, the support came and God provided in His loving mercies! I asked my friend and she said just apply, if you are accepted then you will know it is God’s plan and if rejected the same applies. But I was accepted. I then sold my house to my pastor who had tried to sell his house for three years was unable for some reason. The reason he wanted to sell was he wanted to move closer to the Church. My house was close to the Church and he placed his house back on the market and it sold within the week. Thus, all these things were like ongoing confirmations from the Lord and He provided all the funds and everything I needed. I was still worried about sea sickness, but again I trusted the Lord and He has sustained me throughout, including having undergone training, some of it very difficult, but He gave me the strength and the courage to do it and I passed it and here I am teaching the children.”
RG. How long are you onboard?
“I signed on for two years and I have just come to the end of my first year. Will I return for another session, I do not know as yet I will what the Lord wants, but I am enjoying it very much!”
RG. How many children do you have on an average?
“It does vary, but we have had forty children onboard at one time, but we have ten at the fun-deck/baby centre, six at the lower primary, three at the upper primary and I have five, making a total of fourteen at the moment. As the ship is English speaking, the school onboard was set up in English, but they also offered school in several native languages twice a week as required.”
RG. What has been your most interesting experience whilst on the Doulos?
“Probably going countries that I would
never have wanted to go to and going there I have just loved it, the people
there have been so warm and wonderful. I so much enjoyed my time in
RG. Being somewhat senior, how do you find the young people onboard?
“I am amazed about the faith that they have, for when I was their age, I do not think, I was that strong in the Lord. So many of them see to have so much knowledge and have such a hunger for the Word and that is certainly very much more that it was at Church in my younger days. It is the grouping of the many nationalities, all who are believers that makes this ship so special and that makes me feel so joyful to be onboard the Doulos and to be part of the experience!”
- Gary Barto -
I have placed
“We arrived in
A little way up the river towards our berth we
saw the famous Sydney Opera House and then the
The Doulos was not always the Doulos. It was
named SS Medina until after world war two. The second name on the Doulos in its
long history was the Roma. Two ships had this name and both brought immigrants
“After two days of being shook up in
this old ship with some rough seas, some of which I spent on by backside with
my toes and nose pointing towards the ceiling, we pulled into
We were located at a private
wharf with a quaint restaurant looking like an old lighthouse on the end of it.
There was plenty of parking for our visitors. There are footpaths (sidewalks)
along the waterfront, just waiting for me to get on my bicycle and explore
After being gone from the ship for four days I
felt like a total stranger. While I was away we received 71 new people as part
of our staff and crew. They came on the ship Sunday afternoon while I was on
the church team in
An Australian bird, a Magpie, decided that my ear was going to be lunch. While I was riding a bicycle, one of them “swooped” over me from behind and took a piece out of my ear. I even had a helmet on. Apparently it had a nest nearby and thought I was a threat. It only nicked me, but from the blood that leaked down my neck I thought I must have an ear missing. Someone told me the bicyclist around here put plastic cable ties all over their helmets so they look like a porcupine and then the birds leave them alone.
Back on the ship, I gave and engine room tour to an elderly gentleman that used to be a ship’s engineer. He loved the tour but he dropped the borrowed earmuffs, for ear protection, into a bilge with oil and water in it. I had to retrieve the muffs. I do not know which had more oil on it, the muffs or me. Anyway he really did enjoy the tour. I hope I am not the next one to wear the muffs.”
“Somewhere in the ocean south of
I sat down to breakfast. None of the usual people I eat breakfast with showed up at our usual table. Yes, it is possible to feel lonely with three hundred plus people all around you. While I was sitting there feeling sorry for myself, the captain came and joined me. A few minutes later our director also joined me. Now what better companions for a meal than the two top people on our ship? We even had a few minutes to pray for each other.”
“In Fremantle the problem is not solved and the toilets cannot be used. We are to use the toilets on the quayside. A new problem is, that we have to carry our onshore IDs and enter the public queue every time we come back on the ship three minutes later. We also have to go to our information desk and leave and pickup our name badge. I am afraid my sense of humor was slipping just a little.
Fremantle will be the port we will say
good-bye to all the many friends we have made in the last three months. It is
also a port where we say good-bye to friends we have met on the ship before
Today I am working on our deck where the outdoor “International Coffee Shop is located. I am looking forward to sharing with the many people that will come through the café. It is wonderful to be able to share many blessings with these people as they visit the old lady of the sea.
We have been having many school kids coming onboard this week. During school hours the decks have been full of children on tours. Many kids were wearing their Australian hats and blue uniforms. Even the teachers have Australian hats on as well. Maybe I should try to buy one of these hats before we leave the country. I hope the kids went away with more than a memory of an old ship and remember what we told them about what the Doulos stand for!”
“Tuesday we left
Ever since we got to
As a ship’s electrician I do not want to hear that generator one will not go on line and we need it before we get underway in a few hours. I was not the hero but we did get it going in time. My boss Ralf was able to fix it.
On the way out of Fremantle, it was almost like God said, “I was able to use you Douloids in this port.” Upon leaving the port a large dolphin escorted us out of the harbor.” You Douloids were amazing in Fremantle.” Praise the Lord!
Ka-bang!!! woke me up as I almost rolled out of bed. My closet door flew open and items on my desk came flying at me and then onto the floor of my cabin. During the night the ship took a 17-degree roll at least once and a couple of pretty good rolls after that. We sure had a mess in the Galley and several other places as we went to work in the morning. Now, maybe people will believe the captain when he says, “tie things down for sea.”
And that is my story as we head for Dili and
Thank you a great MV Doulos team & 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
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
She will be
Phos = Servant Light.” She was sent to
the ASL Shipyard’s in Batam where she has been undergoing a lengthy
retrofit to become a luxury Hotel with various Restaurants and Cafés as well as
The author (left) and some of the “Doulos Tour Guides” after my talk on August 19, 2008
the crew and volunteers onboard
To all the crew and volunteers onboard, thank you for your outstanding hospitality, cooperation and the many wonderful interviews, for I am sure that they will be so much appreciated by those who will read them! Also thank you for giving me the freedom of the ship whilst I was with you aboard the historic MV Doulos, a ship I have been personally associated with since 1971 and again when the Doulos arrived in Sydney on July 4, 1999.
Return to the Author’s – MV Doulos “A Ship Like No Other”
Email the author …
Please name the ship you are writing about
Water Liners sailing to the distant shores.
I watched them come, I watched them go and I watched them die.”
Visit our ssMaritime.com Main INDEX
Where you will discover more than 700 Classic Passenger & Passenger-Cargo Liners!
Where the ships of the past make history & the 1914 built MV Doulos Story
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.
“MV Doulos - A Ship Like No Other” is owned, protected under the International ©
copyright laws and is the property of Reuben Goossens of ssmaritime.net. 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.
Copyright: “MV Doulos - A Ship Like No Other” is owned, protected under the International © copyright laws and is the property of Reuben Goossens of ssmaritime.net. 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.
ssMaritime.net is owned and © Copyright by Reuben Goossens - All Rights Reserved.