Less than a week after being with the ships office in Mosbach, I was surprised to hear the big news concerning the Doulos. Let me quote the official news:
Press Release: The ministry of OM’s ship Doulos will come to an end on 31st December 2009.
Doulos is the world’s oldest ocean-going passenger ship, now 95 years old, with the hull built in 1914, just two years after Titanic. In spite of the all year round maintenance that has taken place, the amount of steel replacement and other repairs needed for her to continue sailing are overwhelming. The ship is presently in Singapore and has been undergoing the annual period of dry dock and surveys.
Early indications are that the work would cost over €10 million and take five months to complete. The OM Ships executive leadership team and board believes that is not appropriate to invest resources of this scale into the ship, since Doulos would have a limited ministry future.
Chief Executive Officer of OM Ships International, Peter Nicoll, said, “The outcome of this is that Doulos will not be able to continue in ministry. This is not what any of us wanted, and has serious consequences for everyone on board, those about to join and for ports we planned to visit.”
“We are committed to operating safe ships and complying with the requirements of our classification society, RINA, as well as the International Safety Management requirements for ships,” affirms Peter Nicoll. “We have been praying that God would use this five-year ‘special survey’ to give us a clear picture of the way forward for Doulos and that He has done.”
The well-being of the 280 crew and staff onboard is of paramount importance. Each person will receive the guidance and support they need to decide what their next steps should be. Some are close to the end of their period of service, while others joined as recently as September.
Keeping the ship compliant with the highest marine standards has been a real challenge over the years. It is a remarkable testimony to the professionalism and dedication of the non-profit organisation’s technical personnel that the ship has continued to meet marine requirements until now.
CEO Peter Nicoll stated, “We recognise God’s faithfulness through these 32 years of wonderful service of the ‘servant’-Doulos-as an outstanding OM ministry, through more than 600 port visits in over 100 countries. Many lives have been transformed, both visitors and those who have served on board.
We are also deeply grateful to our partners around the world who have supported the ship in ministry through the years. Please continue to pray with us as we work on present challenges and seek the Lord for the future.
With Logos Hope now active and exciting ministry taking place, we are investigating possible options to charter another ship in the interim and have already begun working on the Doulos replacement project.
Director of Communications
OM Ships International