Grand old liner bids farewell
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 www.omnz.org.nz/dou 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.