The 1OO year old historic ship Doulos Phos (Greek for Servant-Light) built in America in 1914,- only two years after the Titanic,- will now be permanently berthed at the reclaimed land off Bandar Bentan Telani Ferry Terminal at Bintan Resorts, Bintan Island, in the Riau Archipelago Province. Not only will the ship find a permanent port of call here, she will also be converted into a land-berthed Heritage Hotel equipped with resort-style facilities and an on-board maritime museum, come 3rd Quarter of 2015.
“We are very excited about the ship’s new home in Bintan. We are certain that with this unique concept of a ship-hotel, the Doulos Phos will add a new dimension to holidaying at the beautiful island of Bintan. Being so close to Singapore, and amongst world class resorts, she will greatly enhance Bintan Resorts’ appeal to the international traveler”, stated Eric Saw, CEO of BizNaz Resources International , the ship’s owner and leader of the project, as quoted from its Press Release.
The ship was purchased by Eric Saw in 2010 and was planned to be berthed in Singapore. However after three years of searching unsuccessfully for a suitable location there for her, the 2 owners and operators of Bintan Resorts invited the ship with ‘open arms to be permanently based in Bintan. Given Bintan Resorts’ international tourism standing and appeal, the offer was warmly accepted by Eric Saw.
Since taking over the stewardship of this Grand Old Lady of the High Seas, BizNaz Resources International Pte Ltd of Singapore has decommissioned her and is in the process of converting her into a land-berthed heritage hotel complete with resort-style facilities and an on-board maritime museum. She will have approximately 100 cabins as well as an all-day diner, meeting rooms, etc on board. On land there will be a swimming pool, banquet hall, piano lounge, restaurant, and alfresco dining.
“Very importantly, we are giving much attention to the preservation of her heritage. In that regard, she will not be wholly made ‘all-new’, but rather, many aspects will be ‘the old made new’”, added Eric Saw.
Since her launch, the historical ship has undergone several name changes. As SS Medina (1914 – 1948), she was a freighter transporting onions; as SS Roma(1948 – 1953), she was a pilgrim vessel, as MS Franca C (1953 – 1977), the world’s first all-first-class passenger liner; as MV Doulos (1977 – 2010), a mission ship and the world’s largest floating book exhibition. She is also included in the Guinness Book of Records as the “oldest active ocean going passenger ship in the world”.
First referred to simply as Hull Number 176, she was ordered by the Mallory Steamship Company and built by Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company; the first merchant navy vessel to be built by them. She was dubbed by various newspapers at the time as ‘a ship ahead of her time’, and has been commended by many master mariners over the years for her uncanny ability to ride the waves, in many instances much better than newer ships. Bony, blithe and beautiful, and with her classic riveted hull and sides visible up close, the Doulos is a figure of charm and grace that will no doubt be a headturner once her retrofit is completed.
Bintan Resorts is a fabulous swathe of beach area on the Indonesian island of Bintan,which is only less than an hour’s ferry ride from Singapore. Bintan is popular for its world class golf courses, luxurious hotels and Spas and tropical beachfronts facing the South China Sea.