The world’s largest floating book fair has welcomed 100 new members of crew on board.
In traditional Logos Hope style, the new arrivals had to run through a tunnel of flags from the 60 different nations represented on the ship.
Ghanaian port workers also offered their “akwaaba” word of welcome as they joined in the noisy celebration, which drew a crowd of onlookers.
Among those joining the vessel for the next two years are three doctors, four teachers and five children. They come from countries as diverse as Nepal, Albania and Bolivia. They’ve all been assigned a big brother or sister, who has prepared their cabin and will help them find their ‘sea legs’ as they adjust to ship life.
Finally walking up the gangway marks the end of a lengthy phase of pre-ship training, which is necessary for everyone’s safety at sea. The course is run by Captain George Booth, whose association with the organisation dates back to 1979.
“Many people who volunteer with us haven’t come to make the sea a career,” says Captain George, “but we need them to see the bigger picture; that in order for them to be involved in our wider purpose, they also need to do the maritime jobs, like working in the engine room and on deck. So we had to make the training interesting for them.”
The New Zealander has made that his mission ever since. Despite being in his mid-sixties, he attacks each exercise with gusto, leaping into swimming pools to demonstrate survival drills and always having words of encouragement for those who may be nervous.
“They’re as young as my grandkids now,” says George, of the crew. “Changeover times are sad, every group that goes takes a bit of your heart away with them. Fortunately, God gives you a bit more to give to the next group. Our new joiners have a lot of energy and passion. They’re outward-looking and want to meet the needs of others wherever we go – and that’s the whole purpose of our ship.”