On the day Logos Hope officially opened to the public, crewmembers making up a string quartet performed for invited guests while the ship’s leadership received special dignitaries at the top of the gangway. Marcio Lugao, the director of OM in Brazil, commented that “Every division of government officials was present.”
The city of Santos, located in the state of São Paulo, is considered to be the biggest seaport in Latin America and 40% of the country’s imports and exports come through the port. Santos is also famous for its football team, Santos FC, which plays in Brazil’s national championship. The city’s mayor and members of the prestigious football team were guests of honour at the ship's opening ceremony.
Before entering the function room where the official event would take place, the dignitaries were given a private welcome over refreshments with the ship’s director, Pil-Hun Park (South Korea) and Captain Tom Dyer (USA). While exchanging stories of their different experiences in their roles, Pil-Hun asked the mayor what the most challenging part of his job is.
Although he is a younger politician at 40 years old, Paulo Alexandre Barbosa has been mayor for seven years and is serving his second term in office. He answered that Santos has been through a financial crisis, and that creating more work opportunities has been difficult. Captain Tom assured the mayor that the ship's crew believes in the power of prayer and will keep the mayor and his city in their prayers.
Two well-known Santos FC players, Felipe Jonatan and Jean Mota, also made an appearance. When gifts were exchanged during the proceedings, the director and captain were given a commemorative plaque from the port’s federal customs department; praising the ship's purpose in 'bringing a message of hope, solidarity and knowledge' and honouring the return of one of the organisation's vessels to the city after an absence of 20 years.
The football players presented a gift they had brought on behalf of the legendary Brazilian footballer, Pelé. It was a book about a museum dedicated to the retired superstar, which he had signed, 'For the ship Logos Hope; from your friend, Edson Pelé.'
Once the ribbon was cut to declare the ship's bookfair open, Santos’ mayor took time to browse the shelves and discuss the ship's mission further, while football fans scrambled to take photographs with the sporting celebrities!
Santos is the first of five Brazilian ports Logos Hope will visit over the coming three months.