An old hand back on deck

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By John Harold

When Ge­orge Booth stepped on to the world’s old­est pas­sen­ger liner it was some­thing of a home­com­ing and a last hoorah for him.

Mr Booth spent more than a decade on the MV Dou­los with his fam­ily and served as its cap­tain for part of that pe­riod.

The Dou­los, which ar­rived in Auck­land ear­lier this month on its fi­nal visit to the city of sails, is one of three ships run by evan­gel­i­cal Chris­tian group Op­er­a­tion Mo­bil­i­sa­tion.

Mr Booth spent 10 years as a pro­fes­sional sea­man be­fore join­ing Op­er­a­tion Mo­bil­i­sa­tion.

He and his wife Carolyn be­came Chris­tians in 1976 and in 1978 they de­cided they would spend a year do­ing vol­un­tary work for the group.

But the cou­ple ended up spend­ing more than 10 years on the Dou­los, rais­ing three chil­dren on the ship in the process.

Mr Booth still works with the group as its New Zealand na­tional di­rec­tor.

“We loved it from the word go,” he says.

“Of­ten peo­ple say, ‘wow, you must have given up so much to be there, to live in a con­fined space on this ship, I mean for years’.

“What­ever we gave was noth­ing com­pared to what we re­ceived, just the ca­ma­raderie, the knowl­edge and learn­ing, the ed­u­ca­tion we got from go­ing to th­ese places and meet­ing th­ese peo­ple.”

Mr Booth last vis­ited the Dou­los nine years ago and says while the ship will be de­com­mis­sioned in 2010, he won’t be sad to see it go.

“In some ways this is some­thing that I put so much of my own heart and soul into but she’s just a col­lec­tion of steel and iron and riv­ets.

“For me that ship means the peo­ple and what we do and we can re­place that iron and steel with new iron and steel and still have what we have.”


Wel­come re­turn: Ge­orge Booth and his wife Carolyn spent more than 10 years on the Dou­los as vol­un­teers for Op­er­a­tion Mo­bil­i­sa­tion.

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