MV Doulos Phos

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MV Doulos 2004 at Southampton.jpg
The Doulos at Southampton, England in 2004.
Career (US[1]) [1]
Name: SS Medina[1]
Operator: Mallory Steamship Company[1]
Ordered: August 28, 1913[1]
Builder: Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company[1]
Launched: August 22, 1914[1]
Commissioned: September 29, 1914[1]
Fate: Transferred to Cia Naviera San Miguel SA, 1948[1]
Career (Panama[1]) [1]
Name: SS Roma[1]
Operator: Cia Naviera San Miguel SA[1]
Acquired: 1948[1]
Fate: Transferred to Costa Lines, 1953[1]
Career (Italy[1]) [1]
Name: MS Franca C[1]
Operator: Costa Lines[1]
Port of registry: Genoa,  Italy[1]
Acquired: 1953[1]
Fate: Transferred to Gute Bücher für Alle, 1977[1]
Career (Malta[1]) [1]
Name: MV Doulos[1]
Operator: Gute Bücher für Alle[1]
Port of registry: Valletta,  Malta[1]
Acquired: 1977[1]
Identification: Callsign 9HKF
IMO number: 5119105
MMSI number: 256056000
Fate: Transferred to BizNaz Resources International Pte Ltd, 2010[1]
Notes: Her name means "Servant" in Greek.
Career (Malta)
Name: MV Doulos Phos[1]
Operator: BizNaz Resources International Pte Ltd[1]
Port of registry: Valletta,  Malta[1]
Acquired: 2010[1]
Fate: To become Hotel Ship[1]
Notes: Her name means "Servant Light" in Greek.
General characteristics (1949 onwards)
Tonnage: 5,426 GRT (1914)
6,549 GRT (1984)
6,822 GRT (1960)
Length: 410 feet
Beam: 54 feet
Height: 54 feet
Draught: 18.2 feet
Propulsion: GMT C4218SS[2]

V-18 cyl. 4-stroke[2]
5958 kW (8100 bhp)[2]
Intermediate Fuel[2]
Renk Reduction Gear[2]

Fixed Pitch Propeller[2]
Speed: 15 knots
Capacity: 414
Crew: 350

The ship currently known as the MV Doulos Phos was the world's oldest active ocean-faring passenger ship, having plied the world's oceans from the time of her building in 1914 until being retired from cruising service at the end of 2009. She is now owned by Mr. Eric Saw, Director and Chief Executive of BizNaz Resources International Pte Ltd in Singapore.[3] She was previously owned by the German charity Gute Bücher für Alle (English: Good Books for All), and was used as a floating bookshop. The ship has previously been known as the SS Medina, the SS Roma, the MV Franca C, and the MV Doulos. The Doulos ended her final cruise in late 2009 at Singapore, with the ship being handed over to her new owners on March 18, 2010.


The Medina was built in 1914 by Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company for the Mallory Steamship Company of the United States. She was a freighter serving the Atlantic; during World War II she served with the United States Coast Guard.

The Panamanian company Naviera San Miguel SA acquired the Medina in 1948; they renamed the ship the Roma, and converted her into a passenger ship with cabins for 287 people, and dormitories for an additional 694 people.

In 1952 Naviera San Miguel resold the Roma to Linea Costa, an Italian company. At this time the SS Roma, a steamship, was converted into a motor vessel and renamed the MV Franca C. She carried passengers between Italy and Argentina. In 1959, the Franca C was adapted into a cruise liner, principally cruising the Mediterranean.

SS Medina passing the statue of liberty on her maiden voyage.

In 1977, Gute Bücher für Alle acquired the Franca C, and renamed her the Doulos (Greek for servant). Her first director was George Miley (1977–1978) followed by Dale Rhoton (1978–1981). Under Gute Bücher für Alle ownership, she was manned by a volunteer crew and made sea port visits worldwide.

On August 11, 1991, during the final night of the MV Doulos' stop in the southern Philippine port of Zamboanga City, two of her foreign crewmembers were killed when a grenade thrown by members of the Abu Sayyaf Islamist terrorist group[4] exploded on stage during a performance by its Christian volunteers.[5] Four locals were killed[6] and 32 others were injured, including several crew members of the missionary ship.[5]

The MV Doulos held the biggest floating library in the world. Normally there were somewhere between 3000 to 5000 books on the shelves and half a million in the hold.[citation needed]

Today, MV Doulos and her running mate, the MV Logos Hope, are entirely staffed by volunteers and under the banner of OM – Operation Mobilization, an evangelist association.

She made her last world tour in 2009 with a planned de-commissioning in 2010 before the SOLAS regulations were to be introduced.

However, a survey conducted by the ship's classification society RINA found that there were numerous significant problems and works with the ship's machinery, structure, and systems that would need to have been completed by December 31, 2009 in order for the ship's certificates to be re-issued and the ship to continue sailing. Because the shipyard servicing the Doulos would not accept the ship for repairs until September 2010 and the cost of the work would be a total in excess of 10 million euros, and the limited ministry that the MV Doulos would have after the repairs, OM decided to end Doulos Ministry at the end of 2009, instead of 2010 as originally planned.[7]

On March 18, 2010, Doulos was handed over to her new owner, Mr. Eric Saw, Director and Chief Executive of BizNaz Resources International Pte Ltd in Singapore.[8] The new owners plan on preserving the historic ship. She will be renamed Doulos Phos, or Servant Light, in this process.[3] In September 2013, the ship was towed out of Singapore to Batam, Indonesia, to be refurbished before moving to the Island of Bintan to become part of a US$25 million hotel resort.

Port history while operating under GBA[9][edit]

Preservation plans[edit]

Decks A and B will be used as the hotel part of Doulos Phos. Two restaurants capable of seating 250 people each will be located on the Promenade deck (where her dining room originally was) and the boat deck. Other future amenities include a deli, cafe, wine and juice bars, a bookshop, banquet hall, meeting rooms, a bible school and a maritime museum. An amphitheater seating up to 70 people has been proposed.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah "Doulos History". Retrieved 2014-10-27. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Remembering Doulos". Retrieved 2014-10-27. 
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^ "Abu Sayyaf kidnappings, bombings and other attacks". GMA News. August 23, 2007. Retrieved March 22, 2010. 
  5. ^ a b Debbie Meroff. "In His Majesty’s Service: A Salute to the MV Doulos". OM International. Retrieved 2010-03-14. 
  6. ^ Eliza Griswold. "Waging Peace in the Philippines". Smithsonian. Retrieved 2010-03-23. 
  7. ^ Sudden End For Doulos - GBA Ships e.V.
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ Preservation Details

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]