Since the beginning of 2008, pirates filled the African seas, which prevented MV Doulos from continuing its course to its scheduled visit to Africa; however, this setback changed the course of the ship to return to Taiwan and Hong Kong - bringing a beautiful surprise to the people there.
In the visit to Taiwan two years ago, MV Doulos had welcomed aboard over 260,000 people and at that time many asked if it will be the last time that Doulos will return to Taiwan. Beginning in 2010, a new international maritime regulation will define the ship as out-of-date and non-compliance, so its future becomes uncertain.
Despite its unknown future, the 95-year-old MV Doulos will visit Taiwan for the seventh time and Hong Kong for the ninth time with the theme titled “Igniting the Light of the Heart, Embracing the Dreams and Soar.”
During the 8th visit to Hong Kong in September of 2007, the “World Ship” welcomed onboard over 100,000 visitors.
Built in 1914, only 2 years younger than the Titanic, Doulos is recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as the World’s Oldest Ocean-Going Passenger Ship still active. Doulos is also one of the World’s largest Floating Book Fair, with 6,000 different book titled covering a wide range of subjects. The ship is owned by a German non-profit charity organization Gute Bucher Fur Alle (“Good Books for All”) and makes quality books available at not-for-profit price.
Serving as an ambassador of goodwill and international relations, Doulos seeks to bring “Knowledge, Help and Hope” to the nations. Over the past 31 years, Doulos has visited over 500 ports in more than 100 countries, providing good educational literature and promoting unity in diversity. The ship’s crew consists of 330 people from 50 different nations, most of whom have devoted 2 years to serve as fulltime volunteers.
The crew members are committed to serving the nations as a practical expression their Christian faith, and are involved in community service wherever the ship docks. The crew will visit orphanages and hospitals, will build schools, hand out foot and clothing and share life lessons, wherever there is a need. In areas of great need or tragedy, the Doulos crew partner with local organizations to provide humanitarian aid and relief work.
Beginning this April, Doulos will berth by the Taiwan harbors in Kaohsiung, Hualian, and Keelung, and the dates set for its visit to Hong Kong are from June 6th to July 4th and it will be docked next to the Star Ferry Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui, Ocean Terminal at Harbor City.