- Mombasa county deputy governor Francis Thoya said that the coming of the vessel is a good gesture because it will be a centre of attraction for tourists.
- The ship will open its doors to the public on Thursday to select books of their choice from the wide array of genres.
The Mombasa Port on Tuesday received the world’s largest floating bookfair, MV Logos Hope which docked at the Mbaraki Wharf next to the Likoni crossing channel.
The vessel dubbed, ‘the floating library’ which arrived in Mombasa at 10 am with 350 passengers on board from 65 different nationalities has a selection of over 5,000 different titles of books.
Mombasa county deputy governor Francis Thoya said that the coming of the vessel is a good gesture because it will be a centre of attraction for tourists.
The ship which will open its doors to the public on Thursday to select books of their choice from the wide array of genres including science, sports, hobbies, language, faith, cookery arts and purchase medicine.
"We have a vessel which has space for both students and teachers to come and explore different technologies to add to our education system and also have different books to read," Thoya said.
"To me, the coming of the ship shows that people have trust in our Mombasa port and the tourists services therefore this is a sign that the tourist sector in the region is growing," he said.
MV Logos Hope which will be in Mombasa for 45 days is a sister vessel to MV Doulos, which docked in Mombasa in 2005.
Mohammed Osman, a tourism and culture executive member welcomed the visitors to tour Mombasa saying that its arrival is a big boost to the tourism sector.
The residents will be allowed to visit the vessel with an entrance fee of 50 shillings from Tuesdays to Sundays between 1pm and 7pm as it remains closed on Mondays.
Those who will visit the historic ship will also get an opportunity to explore other amenities like the international cafe and visitors’ deck among others.
Visitors will also be introduced to the vessel through a short movie and interactive displays upon arrival.
Evans Okello, Inchcape Shipping Services representative said that the MV Logos Hope's visit to the country was organized in partnership with Kenya Ports Authority, the County Government of Mombasa, Kenya Tourism Board and Inchcape.
He said that there will be two doors with an entry and exit for easier access to those who will visit.
“As the sole agents of the vessel, which is moving across all international ports, we encourage Kenyans to take advantage of the 45 days it will be here and to visit it whether it is to buy books or bring their children and family for the fun activities," he said.
He said that the ship has a capacity of 800 passengers on board.
Mombasa CECM for Education Mbwarali Kame said that students at the Bandari Maritime College and those undergoing mentorship programmes under the Department of Education in Mombasa County are expected to be the first beneficiaries of its visit.
“We are lucky as Mombasa to have the presence of the floating library vessel. We will plan with the relevant stakeholders and have students from all over the six sub-counties visit it and also see how best we can purchase the books for our schools," Kame said.
"We have ongoing mentorship programs and I believe this is a huge boost for us. We are going to write to other counties as well to have an opportunity to bring their students to visit the library before it leaves."
The Kenya Ports Authority has hailed the arrival of the vessel terming it significant not only for the port of Mombasa but the country at large.
Hajj Masemo, Principal Corporate Communication Officer at KPA said that the vessel's visit implied the revival of the cruise business in the region.
"This vessel is the biggest moving library in the world today carrying 5000 different types of books. We are happy to receive it and we encourage people to visit it because this is a revival of the cruise business," he said.
“We believe that this season there will be several cruise vessels coming in. Normally our tourism season starts in September and ends in March, but we have started early and this is a good sign."
He said that KPA has made a significant stride to improve cruise reception facilities.
Constanza Figueroa who has been on board for two years said that so far the ship has visited 150 ports in different country
"We are really happy to be here in Mombasa Kenya, after Kenya, we will go all the way to South Africa, but we will also visit Tanzania, Madagascar, Mauritius and most parts of East Africa,” she said.
The MV Logos Hope was built 50 years ago as a passenger car ferry and was first named Gustav Vasa sailing North Atlantic routes.
In 1983, the vessel changed hands to the Smyril Line and was renamed Norrona sailing between the Faroe Islands and Denmark
By 2004 the previous GBA Ships (Good Book for All) had raised sufficient funds to acquire the vessel and she underwent extensive renovations for her new role.
In the recent cruise tourism that ended in April this year, the port of Mombasa received 4000 passengers.
The famous being the World Odyssey also known as a semester at Sea which operates the World’s floating campus, it was among the cruise liners that docked at the port of Mombasa.
The floating book fair was to come to Mombasa in 2015 but the voyage was suspended because of insecurity reasons.
The last time a similar vessel came to Kenya was in 2005 when Mv Logos Hope's sister ship Doulos docked at the Port City.