Four ships, four decades of history

Captain Tom Dyer (USA) has been part of the organisation for 38 years and has volunteered on all four vessels that have operated as book ships. He was trained and served for a few years in the United States Navy, but was intrigued when he first heard about the volunteer ship, Logos. Having initially committed to serve on board for six months, the young mariner Tom joined the vessel in 1980, in Hong Kong. On his first voyage, Logos was making her way to Thailand. “On the voyage, we came across two Vietnamese refugee boats, whose passengers we rescued over the course of two days,” he said.

Moving from Logos to her sister ship Doulos in 1983, Tom visited the Middle East, where he worked in the deck department. He stayed on Doulos until the end of 1984 and passed his qualifications to become a Chief Mate. He had also started a relationship with a fellow crewmember, Maggie (USA).

Tom and Maggie married in January 1985 and re-joined Logos that June in the Caribbean; with Tom acting as chief mate. Their first son, Tommy, was born in 1986 – the same year in which Tom (Snr) obtained his captain's licence. On 4th January 1988, just six weeks after the birth of their second son, Joshua, Logos ran aground off the coast of Argentina and the entire crew had to abandon ship. Mercifully, no one was harmed in the shipwreck. Tom and his young family returned to the USA.

In September 1988, there was a call to return to Doulos, this time as captain. Not long afterwards, the Dyers transferred to a new vessel, Logos II – the replacement for Logos, funded by donations from around the world. The ship was renovated in Amsterdam, where Captain Tom and Maggie’s daughter, Esther, was born in 1989. The family continued their seafaring adventure on Logos II until their youngest son Caleb was born, at which point they decided to raise their family on shore.

With Logos II and Doulos having reached the end of their service life, in 2010 Captain Tom came back as captain on Logos Hope and has filled in as captain for short spells ever since. Reflecting on his experiences over almost 40 years with the organisation, Captain Tom said, “In many respects the work hasn’t changed: the bookfair is almost the same as it was 30 years ago, except now it is indoors. Logos Hope’s bookfair and café are well thought-out; it’s a great opportunity to connect with people down there.”

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