Aging ship to retire

By December 29, 2009

(MNN) — The world's oldest ocean-going passenger ship, Operation
Doulos, will retire on
December 31st. 

is not what any of us wanted and has serious consequences for everyone on
board–those about to join and ports we planned to visit," said Peter Nicoll,
Chief Executive Officer of OM Ships International.

ship's hull was built in 1914, two years after the Titanic. For the last 32 years, it has traveled the
world with Operation Mobilization, bringing the hope of the Gospel, Christian
literature, relief work, and support for local churches. 

"We recognize God's faithfulness
through these 32 years of wonderful service of the ‘servant' Doulos, as
an outstanding OM ministry, through more than 600 port visits in over 100
countries," Nicoll said. "Many lives
have been transformed –both visitors and those who have served on board."

It's been a challenge to maintain
the 95-year-old ship for many years. Now
it needs repairs that would cost more than $14 million and take five months to
complete. Since it would only be able to
continue ministry for a limited amount of time even after these repairs, OM Ships
made the decision to discontinue its service. 

"We are committed to operating
safe ships and complying with the requirements of our classification society,
RINA, as well as the International Safety Management requirements for ships,"
Nicoll said. "We have been praying that God would use this five-year ‘special
survey' to give us a clear picture of the way forward for Doulos, and He
has done that."

OM ships has a potential buyer
for Doulos, which could be used as a
museum ship and for ministry training. In the meantime, the Doulos
remains docked in Singapore until it makes its final journey. OM is working on finding a way to eventually
replace the ship. It is also helping its
staff transition to other fields of ministry. 

"We have now completed initial
interviews with all on board and are beginning to get a picture of those who
would like to transfer to Logos Hope or transfer to other OM fields,"
Nicoll explained. "Do please continue to
pray for our personnel team on board Doulos as they spend many hours of
communication between sending and receiving fields to make all these transfers

Pray for this challenging transition and for God to provide
resources to sustain the OM Ships ministry. 

"Our financial forecasting of the
impact of these events has left us with a fairly clear picture that this is
going to have a substantial effect on our financial position for the
foreseeable future," Nicoll explained.  "An account has been setup called 'Doulos Project' where
all gifts received for the decommissioning of Doulos can be allocated." 

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