THERE is probably a book for you on Logos Hope and make sure you find it before you leave — those were the words of ship captain Tom Dyer who welcomed guests to the world’s largest floating book fair that is docked in Penang.
And with some half a million books on board, one would be happily inclined to believe him.
Logos Hope, which is run by non-profit organisation GBA Ships, opened its doors to the public yesterday — the first day of its month-long fair at the Swettenham Pier.
While some may remember the docking of the ship’s predecessor — the Doulos — in Penang in 2002, the Logos Hope is definitely the new and improved version of the floating book fair.
For one, ship managing director Gian Walser said, the area of the book fair is now air-conditioned, allowing visitors to browse the over 5,000 book titles in comfort.
The prices of the books are also very affordable, with many paperbacks going for RM8 to RM16.
There is a small Tamil, Chinese and Malayali section along with a music corner.
“It’s our aim to bring books to people at affordable prices.
“Being a non-profit organisation in which our crew and staff (who hail from some 50 different countries) are not being paid salaries makes it possible for us to offer books at very low prices,” Walser said, adding that the ship also had long-lasting relationships with several publishers.
Captain Dyer said Penang would be an important stop for the ship as about 100 of its 340 volunteers serving on board would be disembarking after finishing two-year stints.
“A group of about 80 will come on board here in Penang.
“Aside from that, we’re taken on two to three containers of books (that have been shipped in from places like the United States and United Kingdom) that are being processed for sale now,” Captain Dyer said, adding that each container weighed about 40 tonnes and contained some 50,000 books.
He also said the ship spent an average of 50 to 70 days at sea each year, making about 20 port calls around the world.
Former Penang Port Commission chairman Tan Cheng Liang, who represented Deputy Home Minister Datuk Lee Chee Leong to officiate the launching ceremony, said the Transport Ministry had agreed to waive a percentage of port duties for the ship.
“We hope this will help Logos Hope reach out to more people in fostering hope, love and peace,” Tan said.
During the ceremony, Tan cut an over 100kg cake in the shape of the ship.
The massive chocolate cake, which had a built in steam releaser, was given to Logos Hope by Swens Wong — a local cakemaker who had read about the ship’s good deeds.
Also seen helping out with the cake distribution was Matthew Lee, 23, who is one of over half a dozen Malaysian volunteers on board Logos Hope.
“I got on the ship in Sri Lanka in mid-June for a two-month stint.
“It was a bit of a culture shock for me at first (mingling with people from so many nationalities), but I quickly got used to it,” said the mechanical engineering graduate who works in the pantry.
Penang is Logos Hope’s first stop in the country.
From here, the ship will make her way to Port Klang, Kuching and finally, Kota Kinabalu before heading for Singapore.
The ship is open to the public at the Swettenham Pier from 10am to 10pm from Tuesdays to Saturdays and 1pm to 10pm on Sundays until Sept 25.
It closes on Mondays. Entry fees are RM1 per person. Children under 12 can enter for free but must be accompanied by an adult.
Logos Hope started life in Rendsburg, in the north of Germany, in 1973 as the car ferry Gustav Vasa with the company Lion Ferry AB. Maintaining the same route between Malmö (Sweden) and Travemünde (Germany) for 10 years, she was chartered out to many companies. Her route was later extended to include Rønne (Denmark) and Trelleborg (Sweden).
In April 1983 she was sold to the Faroese ferry company Smyril Line, and renamed Norröna. Sailing from Torshavn, the Faroese capital, to Lerwick (Shetland Islands), Bergen (Norway), Hantsholm (Denmark) and Seyðisfjörður (Iceland) each summer, she was often chartered in the winter to cover other operators’ overhaul schedules. When Smyril Line delivered a new Norröna in 2003, the old vessel became Norröna I, and was put up for sale. Following inspections, GBA Ships purchased her in March 2004.
After a further period of planning and fundraising, extensive renovations began in earnest in the Brodotrogir Shipyard in Trogir, Croatia in June 2005. A new deck was inserted into the double height vehicle deck to create space for what is now the Visitor Experience. An additional deck was added towards the aft to accommodate the school for children of families serving on board. A new galley was installed, and the bridge completely refurbished. Machinery in the engine room was overhauled. Accommodation sections and community spaces were rebuilt, and air-conditioning, sprinkler and electrical systems were renewed.
n November 2007 the ship left Croatia bound for Kiel, Germany, for an initial period of outfitting. On arrival crew and equipment were transferred from Logos II, the ship she would replace, and outfitting work took on new momentum with increased numbers on board and many volunteer project workers from North Germany and around the world coming to help.
The ship departed from Kiel in May 2008 heading for dry dock in Landskrona, Sweden, where a larger, more efficient generator was brought into the engine room through the side of the ship. Thereafter, Logos Hope was berthed in Køge, Denmark, for final outfitting. As well as completion of the accommodation areas and community spaces, work continued on the areas intended for the public, including the Logos Lounge conference room and the visitor experience deck. A massive combined effort saw all the surveys completed and certificates in place, and Logos Hope launched into service in February 2009.
Our desire is to share the knowledge of God’s love and compassion with every visitor to our ships and with the wider community in every port.
Touching lives with knowledge, help and hope. For decades, OM’s ships have travelled the world supplying literature, helping people in need, motivating Christians, training young people and sharing the Good News of God’s love.
Today, the Ship Ministry is still touching lives—powerfully demonstrating God’s love through our international community living and serving together onboard Logos Hope.
Known for their floating book fairs, the ships have made over 1,400 port visits in more than 160 nations, welcoming over 42 million people onboard. Visitors can select from over 5,000 book titles, covering a wide range of subjects and available at a fraction of their value. Grants of books to schools, libraries, colleges, churches and universities in developing countries have made a positive impact.
Those caught in the grip of poverty often lack basic education and healthcare. OM Ships workers have undertaken a wide range of relief projects worldwide. Their efforts include constructing orphanages, building shelters for victims of natural disasters and distributing medical aid, food and supplies.
In a world of uncertainty, true hope is only possible by engaging in a personal relationship with God. In every port, volunteer crew members share this message of hope with those they meet.
Having a purpose in life also brings hope. Through the on-board training programmes, we offer an ideal environment for crew members to discover and cultivate their gifts. For many, it’s a significant step towards a life-time of serving God.