Genting Hong Kong’s Luxury Yacht Becomes Missionary Ship
A Christian charity organization has acquired the final cruise ship formerly operated by Getting Hong Kong’s Star Cruises. The missionary and relief organization GBA Ships headquartered in Germany confirmed that it has completed the acquisition of the 3,370 gt cruise ship The Taipan to expand the missionary work of their group, known as OM. The vessel is expected to enter service by 2023 as the Doulos Hope.
The acquisition officially brings to a close the operations of Star Cruises which had launched over 30 years ago as the first modern cruise line focused on Asia and provided the platform to build Genting Hong Kong’s cruise operations. The provision liquidators of Genting Hong Kong had previously completed the sale of the line’s three larger cruise ships. The larger ships were renamed last week Gem, Arius, and Pisces and the three ships departed Penang where they had been laid up showing their first destination as Port Klang. It is believed that from there they will all proceed to Alang, India to be broken up.
For the past few years before the pandemic, The Taipan had sailed as Genting Hong Kong’s luxury yacht and private charter vessel. She accommodated just 64 passengers and offered a luxury spa and gourmet dining. She remains laid up in Penang where she has been since the pandemic forced the cruise lines to suspend operations and where the handover was recently completed.
“Through our work, we want to build lasting, high-quality relationships and increase our community involvement while reaching out to new regions,” said Seelan Govender, Director of OM Ship Outreach. “Therefore, we urgently need to expand our fleet,” he said describing the recent efforts to locate a second vessel for their missionary work. He reported that the company OM Schiffsarbeit working with brokers had examined several ships but The Taipan was compelling because of her size and “a unique opportunity to buy that ship at a great price,” Govender explained.
The charity purchased its first ship for missionary work in 1970 and Doulos Hope will be the company’s fifth ship. They currently operate a 50-year-old former Scandinavian ferry that they began sailing in 2009 as the Logos Hope. According to Govender, they typically visit 15 to 18 port cities per year, but with multiple ships, each ship will be able to visit 10 to 12 additional ports per year. The Taipan was also of interest to the group because her size at just 269 feet in length which will permit her to have access to more remote ports to further spread their mission. Aboard each ship, they operate a large Christian bookstore and while in ports undertake aid projects in addition to their missionary work.
New name being painted on the ship during the handover in Penang (GBA Ships)
Construction of the ship now officially renamed Doulos Hope began in 1988 in Germany for a planned luxury cruise company called Windsor Line. The sister ships were originally to operate as Lady Diana and Lady Sarah, but the company was unable to take delivery of the ship. They briefly saw service as Aurora I and Aurora II before being acquired by Star Cruises in 1994 and being renamed Megastar Aries and Megastar Taurus. The Megastar Aries had later operated as the Genting World before being renamed The Taipan while her sister ship was transferred to Crystal Cruises in 2015 to operate as a luxury yacht cruise ship known as Crystal Esprit. She was sold last year to Lindblad Expeditions and will be relaunching in August 2022 as the National Geographic Islander II sailing year-round in the Galápagos Islands.
OM Ships reports that the Doulos Hope will go to a shipyard in Asia to begin her conversion, which includes rearranging accommodations and the creation of the bookshop. They expect her to accommodate over 160 crew members. Technical work will include an overhaul of the machinery and the installation of a wastewater system. Final details on her ministry will be released at a later date.
OM's current ship the Logos Hope was built in 1973 as a Scandinavian ferry (GBA Ships)