Genting Hong Kong’s smallest cruise ship trades casino chips for Bibles and other books

OM Ships, an international Christian organization based in Germany, has acquired the smallest cruise ship operated by the Star Cruises brand from Genting Hong Kong.

The charity has announced that it is in the process of purchasing the 3,370 GT cruise ship The Taipan (built in 1991), a yacht-style luxury vessel that can accommodate 72 passengers.

Star Cruise operated The Taipan from the Malaysian port of Penang for its elite gaming loyalty club members, as well as on private charters.

The purchase appears to be a done deal as the ship, which is moored in Penang, is already broadcasting its new name Doulos Hope on its automatic identification system.

The Doulos Hope becomes the fifth vessel operated by OM Ships since its creation in 1970.

Her name was chosen in honor of a former OM ship, the 6,800 ton Doulos (built in 1914), which for many years was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest ocean passenger ship in the world. The venerable ship was acquired by the organization from Costa Cruises in 1977 and retired in 2009 at the age of 95. It has since been transformed into a luxury resort hotel on the Indonesian island of Bintan.

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OM Ships currently operates the 12,500 GT Logos Hope (built in 1973), a converted ropax which typically visits 15-18 port cities per year. During these calls, the ship attracts thousands of visitors eager to stock up on books covering a wide range of subjects. The ship’s crew, all volunteers, are also involved in community development and religious outreach work.

Seelan Govender, director of OM Ships Outreach, said in a German press release that the organization is actively looking for a second ship to increase its community involvement while reaching new regions.

A second ship would allow him to visit 10 to 12 additional ports per year.

Govender said the small size of his latest purchase will allow OM Ships to visit smaller, remote places where the Logos Hope cannot call due to his size.

The Doulos Hope will be refitted for her new role in an as yet unknown Asian port. The works, which will last between 12 and 18 months, will see the ship’s total passenger capacity increased to 160, while other modifications will include the construction of a large bookstore and the installation of a water treatment plant ballast.

The sale of The Taipan ends Star Cruises, one of the oldest and best-known brands in the Asian cruise market.

The four largest cruise ships operated by Star were recently sold for recycling in India and Turkey.