VESSEL REFIT | Doulos Hope – German aid charity to operate former cruise ship
GBA Ships, a charitable organisation headquartered in Germany, has acquired a luxury private charter vessel formerly operated by Genting Hong Kong through its Star Cruises brand.
Originally built in 1988 by now-defunct German shipyard Flender Werft, Star Cruises’ The Taipan was known by numerous names and sailed under different owners up until 2022, when it was acquired by GBA. The 85.5- by 14-metre, 3,370GT vessel recently completed undergoing conversion work at shipyards in Malaysia and Singapore.
The modifications include rearranging of the accommodation spaces, overhauling of the machinery, and installation of a wastewater system, communication and navigation electronics from Intellian, and a new bookshop carrying over 2,000 titles. The five decks can accommodate 140 crewmembers and support personnel including galley staff, communications and IT technicians, and engineering specialists.
The refurbished vessel will sail under the name Doulos Hope in honour of Doulos, a former GBA ship that was originally built in 1914 and that had served with the charity from 1977 to 2009. The newer vessel will be operated by GBA while remaining under the ownership of affiliate global Christian missionary foundation Operation Mobilisation via its OM Ships arm. As with the four other vessels in the active GBA fleet, the former cruise ship will be used to perform missionary outreach work in various countries, primarily by serving as a floating library with the aim of promoting literacy. For Doulos Hope, its main area of operations will be Southeast Asia, though it can also be deployed to other regions as needed.
GBA said Doulos Hope is the first of a planned fleet designed to reach new regions and operate in shallower waters – thanks to a draught of only 3.8 metres – so that isolated and marginalised communities further inland can be reached. As part of its standard operating profile, the ship will stay in ports for longer periods to enable greater community engagement.
|Type of vessel:
|Missionary outreach ship
|OM Ships, Germany
|GBA Ships, Germany
|Cabins; galley; bookshop; lecture halls