MV Doulos: The World’s Oldest Passenger Ship

MV Doulos

Update 2010: On March 18, 2010, Doulos was handed over to her new owner, Mr Eric Shaw, Director and Chief Executive of BizNaz Resources International Pte Ltd in Singapore. The new owners plan on preserving the historic ship. She will be renamed Doulos Phos, or Servant Light, in this process.

The MV Doulos is the world’s oldest active ocean going passenger ship. The 94 year old ship has gone by many names over the years such as the SS Medina and SS Roma. During World War II she saw action in the Battle of the Atlantic as a freighter. Today she is used as the world’s largest floating bookshop bringing books to port cities around the world. The ship has a official website which tells us, “Volunteers from over 40 countries serve on board Doulos. They are mostly young people who have chosen to dedicate two years of their lives to be on board, learning to live and work together, and serving the communities in the ports visited. Additionally, the ship has a full complement of qualified crew, as required by international maritime regulations.” The website goes on to say that “over 20 million visitors have been welcomed on board for tours, programs and visits to the floating book fair. With stops in over 500 ports of call, this unique ship has visited more than 100 countries including Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and many island nations.”

This World’s Oldest Ocean-going Passenger Ship has been crossing oceans and building bridges between the nations for over 30 years by promoting Knowledge, Help and Hope. The ship’s volunteer crew of 320 people from 50 countries offers an unique opportunity to cross cultural barriers, and raise cultural awareness and understanding of other cultures. Members of the public have opportunities to meet the international crew, experience the numerous cultures on board, and discover more about this historic ship.

The DOULOS is operated by the non-profit charity organization Gute Bücher für Alle (“Good Books for All”), based in Germany. The ship was originally built in 1914 – this makes her only 2 years younger than the Titanic! It is recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as the World’s Oldest Ocean-going Passenger Ship still active. In the past 31 years, the DOULOS has visited almost 600 ports in 103 countries, and has welcomed over 21 million visitors on board. East Timor will be the 104th country she will visit.

The 130-meter ocean-going vessel offers the World’s Largest Floating Book Exhibition with 8,000 titles in English and a selection in Bahasa. The books cover a wide range of subjects: Dictionaries, novels, cooking, hobbies, sports, medicinal, Bibles, children books, Chrisitian books, etc… During her 6 days stay, various programs such as school visits and International Music Cafes will be offered. wombathole.com