Posted on Sunday, January 6, 2013 by Peter Knego
Peter Knego “Decks!” the DOULOS PHOS, starting with a look at the 98-year-old ship’s upper deck areas: Bridge Deck, Captain’s Deck and Sun Deck.
All photos by and copyright Peter Knego 2012 unless otherwise noted.
Friday, November 16, 2012
Were it not for the incredible kindness and trust of DOULOS PHOS’ devoted owner, Eric Saw, this report would not have been possible. Not only did Mr. Saw provide unfettered access, he allowed us a generous amount of time to fully document one of the world’s oldest and most fascinating passenger liners. By the way, the ship’s current name, DOULOS PHOS is Greek for “Servant of Light”, slightly revised from her last name, DOULOS, or “Servant”. The renaming was inspired by a verse from the Bible, ISAIAH 49:6, which reads:
“It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach the ends of the earth.”
I would also like to extend my gratitude to Reuben Goossens of ssmaritime.com for putting me in contact with Mr. Saw. Thanks to Reuben’s efforts in persuading Operation Mobilisation to not immediately have the ship scrapped, Mr. Saw had time to intervene and rescue the DOULOS from the breakers. It is my sincere hope that this important ship will find a suitable home to enjoy a long and restful afterlife after traversing the seven seas for nearly a century.
DOULOS PHOS is currently tied up at the vast STM Shipyard in Singapore and attended by a small crew. When Mr. Saw purchased the ship, the then DOULOS was in immaculate condition. Unfortunately, equatorial Singapore is a rough climate with oppressive heat, humidity and torrential rains. Additionally, due to shipyard restrictions, only the most basic of maintenance can be performed by the crew without incurring exorbitant fees. These factors considered, after three years of layup, our subject is still in remarkably good condition.
One feature that has all but disappeared from the high seas is the counter stern. DOULOS PHOS is one of the last passenger ships in existence with this elegant bit of architecture.
Her lovely rudder is not unlike much larger fixtures that graced the sterns of the MAURETANIA, AQUITANIA, TITANIC, LUSITANIA and scores of turn-of-the-20th Century liners.
The uppermost level, Bridge Deck, was added in 1948 when the ship was converted from the freighter MEDINA into the emigrant ship ROMA. The bulkheads and bulwarks are of wooden construction.
Open wings extend from the wheelhouse over the sides of the ship.
There is an open terrace on Bridge Deck immediately aft of the wheelhouse and chart room that extends to a platform and ladder that scales the forward portion of the funnel.
Some of the navigation equipment (binnacle, compass, engine telegraph and many of the brass fittings) reportedly dates from 1914. Many of these items were removed by Operation Mobilisation when the ship was retired and subsequently returned when DOULOS PHOS was purchased by Eric Saw.
A small chart room is immediately aft of the wheelhouse.
The next level, Captain’s Deck, was completely rebuilt from MEDINA’s Bridge Deck in the ROMA conversion.
An open terrace fronts Captain’s Deck. Note the pronounced camber (downward curvature to either side).
The Captain’s Suite occupies the forward portion of Captain’s Deck. On the port side, there is a sitting room with a desk that dates from the ROMA conversion and on the starboard side, there is a bedroom.
The aft portion of Captain’s Deck houses Cabin 502, a narrow staircase and a small vestibule.
Very narrow promenades continue aft on either side of the deck housing on Captain’s Deck, leading to a small platform at the base of the funnel.
Sun Deck begins with an open, teak-lined terrace forward of the superstructure. The center portion of this deck houses a canvas-covered stores and work shop.
The interior portion of Sun Deck begins with the Staff Library, which is lined with book shelves and fronted by a bulkhead with portholes that overlook the bow.
A small block of officer’s accommodation is adjacent to the Staff Library on Sun Deck.
The external portion of Sun Deck continues aft on either side via teak promenades that are inboard of the lifeboats.
At the aft end of the Sun Deck superstructure, there are stairs that lead down to Lounge Deck. A melamine decorative panel by Enrico Paulucci dating from the ship’s (then sailing as Costa Line’s FRANCA C) 1959 rebuilding by Nino Zoncada was removed at one point in the DOULOS’ latter day career and is now part of the Costa family archives in Genoa. The original Zoncada-designed railings remain.
The aft portion of Sun Deck, once the sprawling lido on the FRANCA C, was turned into an outdoor book shop when the ship was converted into the DOULOS. A large awning was built over the pool area to provide shelter from the elements.
The pool basin was covered up but not removed, so DOULOS PHOS, should she become a hotel ship, could feasibly get her lovely lido back.
This portion of the DOULOS tour will end at the very stern of the ship.
End of DOULOS PHOS Decked!, Part Three
Much More to Come…
Very Special Thanks: Jonathan Boonzaier, Martin Cox, Reuben Goossens, Mike Masino, Eric Saw
To show your support for DOULOS PHOS and to get updates on the ship, please “like” the DOULOS PHOS Facebook Page