In mid-August 2013, the MV Logos Hope arrived in Phuket for a week-long stay in it’s role as the world’s largest floating bookfair. She’d replaced the MV Doulos which had visited in 2006 prior to her being withdrawn from active service three years later. The 434-foot long Logos Hope began life in 1973 as the ferry MV Gustav Vasa sailing between Malmö (Sweden) and Travemünde (Germany), and later operated as the MV Norröna providing a ferry service to the Faroe Islands. She was purchased by Gute Bücher für Alle in 2004 and converted into her present library-ship guise, sailing worldwide with an all-volunteer international crew under the flag of Malta.
During her brief visit to Phuket, the Logos Hope moored at the quay in Makham Bay on the southeastern part of the island which is a rather remote area. At the time, local taxi operators routinely barricaded the port so that cruise ship passengers and crew wishing to visit more tourist-oriented areas were forced to pay insanely-inflated fares. Luckily, that seems to be a thing of the past following similar incidents during visits by ships of the U.S. Navy led to meetings with island officials. Basically, the U.S. Navy stated they would use a different port for their sailors to take their shore leave (and their money) if the taxi drivers didn’t back down. When I visited the ship at the Makham Bay mooring two years ago, I had some difficulty entering and exiting the port as the drivers were very persistent that I partake of their services…
Once again, the ship was full of students on field trips during my visit (a number of them whom I’d previously taught which was a bit surreal). The bookshop area was much larger than on the Doulos and there were a number of ship-related souvenirs available for sale. I spied a mail slot in a lobby area and asked if I could buy a stamp to mail one of my postcards. I was informed that it was for “crew only”. Oh, well. There was also several pieces of machinery displayed in various spots and a large cinema where a film about the Logos Hope’s mission is shown to visitors.
Photos taken by Mark Jochim in Phuket, Thailand 22 August 2013