Creating history, Mv Logos Hope the goodwill passenger cruise liner cum book exhibition vessel docked at the Port of Hambantota on recently, as the first ever passenger vessel to call at the port.
A spokesman for the vessel agent Aitken Spence Shipping stated that they were keen on making the Logos Hope call at the Port of Hambantota, firstly to showcase the brand new picturesque port and secondly to nullify the myth that vessels could not call at the Port of Hambantota.
“We were able to convince the owners and project directors to call at the port of Hambantota despite the initial concerns they had,” the spokesman added.
Aitken Spence expressed gratitude to Dr. P. B. Wickrema, Chairman Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA); Agil Hewaeegana, Project Director of Hambantota Port; Capt. Ravi Jayawickrema- Harbour Master SLPA; Capt. Athula Hewawitharana, Senior Deputy Harbour Master SLPA and all the officials of the Hambantota Port for their wonderful support and cooperation.
The vessel which is 132.5 metres in length and 21 metres in breadth eased into the Port of Hambantota under the care of Capt. Pat Tracy who was a former US Naval Frigate Master. The vessel was piloted into the port by Capt. S.C.Wimalasiri, the Deputy Harbour Master of Galle. The vessel was guided to its berth by Tug “Therapuththapaya”.
The vessel has onboard 450 passengers and crew of nearly 45 nationalities. It is truly a multicultural contingent whose purpose is to bring knowledge, help and hope to the people of the world. The vessel was docked in the Port of Colombo from 17 March 2011 to 23 May 2011 and in the Port of Galle from 29 June to 17 July 2011, before reaching Hambantota on the 18 of July. During its stay in Sri Lanka the vessel was open to the public to visit its book exhibition and purchase valuable books.
Capt. Pat Tracy was very impressed with the warm hospitality that was afforded to him, the passengers and the crew during their stay in Sri Lanka.
The passengers and crew travelled to various parts of the country for site seeing, visiting places of historical interest, shopping and enjoying the pleasures of our lovely nation. They were also involved in community service in the villages, schools and communities, as well as donating books worth several hundred of thousand US Dollars to schools, libraries and community centres.
It is believed that over 1 million Sri Lankans visited the vessel during its port calls at Colombo, Galle and Hambantota. Since this was the first ever passenger vessel to call at Hambantota, there were queues of people visiting the vessel. “At times we were wondering if Hambantota had such a large population” said Seelan Govinder – Project Director of Logos Hope, because there were so many people arriving to see the vessel.
The Logos Hope derives its name from the Greek Word Logos traditionally meaning “word, thought, principal or speech”. The vessel was constructed in 1973 and subsequently converted to a passenger vessel commencing from 2004. The vessel began its journey as a passenger vessel in February 2009. The vessel has 492 berths capable of carrying nearly 900 passengers.
The Logos Hope carries a stock of half a million books for the whole family. The thousands of titles available cover a wide range of subjects such as science, technology, sports, hobbies, cookery, arts, social sciences and languages. A large selection is devoted especially to children and every effort is made to ensure that local language materials are available for each port visit.
The vessel sailed from Hambantota on 28 July 2011 to its next destination which is Vizag, in India.