Grand old liner bids farewell

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Trevor Lewis

Oh for a life on the ocean’s waves.

That’s what more than 300 vol­un­teer crew from 50 coun­tries have on board the MV Dou­los, bring­ing knowl­edge, help and hope to the peo­ple of the world.

The world’s big­gest float­ing book­shop with 100 tonnes of lit­er­a­ture has sailed the seven seas since 1977.

Built in the United States in 1914, two years af­ter the Ti­tan­tic, the Dou­los started life as the Me­d­ina, a cargo ship car­ry­ing onions from New York to Galve­ston, Texas.

Dur­ing World War Two she served with the US Coast Guard.

Sold af­ter al­most 30 years she was re­named the Roma, and reg­is­tered in Panama.

As the Roma, she trans­ported set­tlers from Europe to Aus­tralia and was resold in 1952 and re­named Franca C.

Her steam en­gines were re­placed by Fiat diesels, pro­duc­ing 7650 horse­power giv­ing the ship a speed of 18 knots.

The Franca C had six pas­sen­ger decks built and air-con­di­tion­ing was in­stalled.

In 1959 the ves­sel be­came a lux­u­ri­ous cruise ship. A casino, swim­ming pool and cin­ema were added and she op­er­ated out of Mi­ami, Florida.

More pow­er­ful Fiat en­gines were added in 1970 and in 1977 a Ger­man char­ity, Good Books For All, bought the ves­sel and re­named it the Dou­los – which means ser­vant.

It is her fi­nal voy­age to New Zealand.

The Dou­los will be de­com­mis­sioned in 2010 be­cause the 94-year-old ship is un­able to keep up with mar­itime safety rules.

The fate of the Dou­los is un­known, but the crew hopes some­one will buy her, per­haps as a float­ing ho­tel.

The Dou­los is open to the pub­lic on the west­ern side of Princes Wharf in Auck­land un­til Mon­day.

Visit the ship’s web­site at los.

Last call: The MV Dou­los ties up on the Auck­land wa­ter­front for the last time. It will be de­com­mis­sioned in 2010.

Books and peo­ple: She car­ries 100 tonnes of lit­er­a­ture and a vol­un­teer crew of 300.

Close look: Vis­i­tors scrui­tinise the decks and equip­ment of the MV Dou­los, which was built in 1914 and has car­ried many car­goes and sailed un­der var­i­ous flags in its time.

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