Captain Dyer speaking at the opening ceremony of the book fair onboard Logos Hope yesterday as participants in the Parade of Nations look on. Moosa taking a tour of the book fair with Nicholas. PICTURES: Nasar T K
By Bonnie James/Deputy News Editor
Logos Hope, the world’s largest floating book fair, arrived in Doha yesterday, carrying a stock of half a million books in more than 5,000 titles from a wide variety of topics at affordable prices.
People can visit the ship, docked at Doha Port until October 20, from 2pm to 10pm daily. There is an exclusive session for ladies on October 16 from 9am to noon. The entrance fee is QR2. Entry is free for children under 16, but must be accompanied by an adult.
All visitors to Logos Hope should take a shuttle bus from the parking lot of Doha Port, next to the Museum of Islamic Art. The national ID or passport is needed for entry into the port.
Logos Hope, operated by GBA (Good Books for All) Ships e.V., an international, charitable organisation registered in Germany, is manned by more than 400 crew members from nearly 55 nations. This is the vessel’s second visit to Qatar in three years.
Since 1970, GBA Ships has welcomed more than 42mn visitors up the gangways in over 1,400 port visits in more than 160 countries and territories around the world.
Rodney Hui from Singapore, one of the directors of Logos Hope, recalled in his opening address that the ship received more than 44,000 visitors during its first visit to Qatar in February 2011.
The Parade of Nations, the next item in the ceremony, featured crew members from Indonesia, South Africa, Bangladesh, The Netherlands, Germany, Japan, Papua New Guinea, Nepal, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, Kazakhstan, Ecuador and Sri Lanka.
Captain Tom Dyer, who has been a captain on all four ships (Logos, Logos II, Doulos and now Logos Hope) of GBA, described the vessel as a “fun ship”, a “family ship” and a platform for friendship. “I have had the privilege of raising four children onboard and my son is now the finance manager on the ship,”
There are some families who are volunteering onboard and they have 30 children among them. The children are taught British curriculum.
“We hope to learn from one another and how to live with each other,” Captain Dyer said, referring to the presence of many different nationalities on the ship.
Moosa Zainal Moosa, a senior official at Qatar’s Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage, who was the guest of honour at the opening ceremony, recalled that his association with GBA Ships goes back to over two decades ago when Doulos visited the country for the first time.
“Doulos (which was in service from 1977 to 2009) became part of my family’s history. My three daughters visited the ship when they were children and bought books,” he said.
Moosa described Logos Hope as a floating university and cultural centre, which distributes knowledge, culture and peace among the young generation all over the world.
“This ship is playing a very important role in promoting peace and understanding between people of different countries at a time when the world is in chaos,” he added.
Lloyd Nicholas, a senior director of Logos Hope, said the mission of GBA ships is to provide good books to people all around the world. “We are a living university for the people onboard. They learn from different cultures. We want to make a difference in people’s lives by bringing knowledge, help and hope. We provide significant humanitarian relief in many countries,” he said.
Nicholas said each volunteer onboard Logos Hope has a relationship with God, out of which comes hope and a sense of purpose in life. “We do not drink, smoke or take drugs. Onboard you are going to find joy, peace and hope. We show value and esteem for one another and it brings a sense of well-being. Many people experience transformation,” he added.
The opening ceremony concluded with a vibrant performance by the ship’s African Choir.
The range of subjects covered by the book fair includes science, sports, hobbies and family life. There will be a selection of Arabic titles, too.
The Cultural Café evening on October 17 (4pm to 6pm and 7pm to 9pm), which requires a QR10 ticket, will showcase a variety of cultures, music and dances from around the globe.
The Welcome Area introduces the visitors to the vessel through a short movie and interactive displays. There is also a café that sells ice cream, drinks and snacks.
Logos Hope’s sister ships, Logos and Doulos, have visited Qatar repeatedly between 1971 and 2006.
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