May sees maritime charity GBA Ships launch its latest “floating book fair”, Doulos Hope. The vessel was originally built by the now defunct Flender Werft yard in Germany in 1991, and acquired by GBA Ships in May 2022 and refitted to meet the charity’s requirements.
Since the launch of its first repurposed vessel, Logos, in 1970, GBA Ships has visited more than 150 countries, promoting literacy and education. The operator says it has donated “hundreds of tonnes of books” to communities over the course of its port calls, while also having provided seafarer training to more than 10,000 young volunteers.
The 85.5m x 14m Doulos Hope will visit ports across Southeast Asia. Its design draught is a helpful 3.8m, which GBA Ships explains by stating: “The vessel is the first of a planned fleet designed to operate in shallower waters, so that isolated communities further inland can be reached.” The charity tells Ship & Boat International: “There is an onboard book fair on the top deck, where the helicopter pad was located, and a café. Additionally, there are two meeting spaces on the lower decks for both crew training and public events.” The revamped ship has the capacity for 146 persons.
Doulos Hope is powered by two Klöckner-Humbolt-Deutz-MWM, 16-cylinder engines, each rated 1,670kW, for a speed of 12.5knots, increasing to 13.5knots max.
GBA Ships continues: “For crew/staff, the training programme typically lasts one or two years, although there are opportunities for a three-month programme.” Most participants tend to be aged 18-30, the charity says, adding: “[Trainees] receive certification, such as watchkeeping, firefighting, lifeboat and steering certificates – some go on to become marine professionals.”
Doulos Hope’s itinerary includes a brief stop in Singapore in May, before five port calls in Malaysia, spanning late May to early October. The ship will then visit ports in Thailand and Cambodia in Q4 and early 2024.