MOSBACH, GERMANY - OM Ships International has purchased the Norrona I from Smyril Line at a cost of 3.6 million Euros. The ship will be renamed LOGOS HOPE, and is expected to begin active service during 2005.
Humanly speaking, it seemed impossible for OM Ships International, a non-profit Christian service and aid organisation, to purchase Norrona I. The owners were already negotiating with another buyer.
Bernd Guelker from Germany, OM Ships International's Managing Director, said: "Despite this setback, we still believed this was the right ship. Then Friday, March 26, the other buyer defaulted on a deadline to sign the contract, and the ship was back on the market - now with two other potential purchasers bidding for it.
"In order to stay in the running, we had to place our bid urgently. We informed Norrona I's owners, Smyril Line, that we needed to honour our prior commitment to holding a day of prayer on Monday, March 29, before signing any agreement."
Guelker explained: "Hundreds of thousands of Christians, in more than 85 nations, have also been praying for the purchase of OM's new ship. On Monday, March 29, at 5:15 pm, after prayer at our head office in Germany, a memorandum of agreement was signed for the purchase of Norrona I for 3.6 million Euros. The Norrona I will become the LOGOS HOPE!"
The Norrona I is presently in Copenhagen, Denmark. For the past 20 years, the 12,000 ton ferry has sailed between the Faroe Islands and Denmark, Norway, Iceland, and the Shetland Islands. The Faroese, many with a strong Christian faith, have expressed their support, and their delight that 'their ship' will now be bringing knowledge, help and hope to the people of the world.
After the signing, the Director of the LOGOS HOPE Project, Lloyd Nicholas, from Australia, said: "This is the culmination of two years' planning for the replacement of our present ship LOGOS II. With more than one million visitors every year to OM's ships, the vessel has simply outlived her ability to meet the increasing needs and opportunities we face every day in ports around the world."
HIV/AIDS seminars onboard, and teams visiting schools, prisons and orphanages, are some of the many activities in the different ports we visit. Daily, thousands of people queue to visit the floating book fair.
"LOGOS HOPE, a much bigger ship, will allow us to do so much more," Nicholas said.
OM Ships International plans to launch LOGOS HOPE in 2005. Significant renovation and refitting to equip her for her new role, will take place in a shipyard over the coming months.
Conference facilities for 500 people will be equipped with specially designed sound, lighting and projection systems. The newly designed indoor book fair will be the largest floating bookshop in the world. Quality cabins will be fitted for 350 crew and 150 guests. Air-conditioning, IT, telephone, fire alarm and sprinkler systems will be fitted or upgraded.
OM Denmark Director, Bitten Schriver, said: "We've been overwhelmed by the generosity of people worldwide who have given financially so that we could now commit to the purchase of Norrona I. Of the total LOGOS HOPE budget, 60% has already been given. To complete the project, a further 8.7 million Euros - and many more bold steps of faith - will be required."
Since launching the LOGOS in 1970, more than 33 million people have visited OM's ships in over 140 nations.
OM Ships International's successful bid for Norrona I signals an exciting step forward for what has been described as one of today's most innovative and effective Christian ministries.