OM Ships, an international Christian organisation based in Germany, has acquired the smallest cruise ship that was operated by Genting Hong Kong’s Star Cruises brand.

The charity has announced that it is in the process of buying the 3,370-gt cruise ship The Taipan (built 1991), a deluxe yacht-style vessel that can accommodate 72 passengers.

Star Cruise operated The Taipan out of the Malaysian port of Penang for the elite members of its gaming loyalty club, as well as on private charters.

The purchase appears to be a done deal as the ship, which is docked in Penang, is already broadcasting its new name Doulos Hope on its automatic identification system.

The Doulos Hope becomes the fifth ship that OM Ships has operated since being founded in 1970.

Its name was chosen in homage to a previous OM ship, the 6,800-gt Doulos (built 1914), which for many years was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s oldest ocean-going passenger vessel. The venerable vessel was acquired by the organisation from Costa Cruises in 1977 and retired in 2009 at the age of 95. It has since been converted into a luxury resort hotel on the Indonesian island of Bintan.

OM Ships currently operates the 12,500-gt Logos Hope (built 1973), a converted ropax that typically visits 15 to 18 port cities annually. During these port calls the vessel attracts thousands of visitors keen to stock up on books covering a wide range of topics. The ship’s crew, all volunteers, also engage in community development and religious outreach work.

Seelan Govender, director of OM Ships Outreach, said in a German media statement that the organisation had been actively searching for a second ship to increase its community involvement while reaching out to new regions.

A second ship would allow it to visit 10 to 12 additional ports per year.

Govender said that the diminutive size of its latest purchase will allow OM Ships to visit smaller, remote locations where the Logos Hope is unable to call due to its size.

The Doulos Hope will be refitted for its new role at an as-yet undisclosed Asian port. The work, which will take between 12 and 18 months, will see the vessel’s total berth capacity increased to 160, while other modifications will include the construction of a large bookshop and the fitting of a ballast water treatment plant.

The sale of The Taipan brings to a close Star Cruises, one of the oldest and most well-known brands in the Asian cruise market.

The four larger cruise ships operated by Star were recently sold for recycling in India and Turkey.