Muscat: Shabab Oman II is home, having welcomed over 211,000 visitors during its fourth international tour.
Shabab Oman II, which joined the Royal Navy of Oman in August 2014, arrived at the port of Sultan Qaboos in Muttrah on October 7. During its journey, which began on April 15, from Saeed bin Sultan base, the ship visited 17 ports in 12 countries.
Shabab Oman II was welcomed home in a ceremony hosted by A’Saiyed Shehab bin Tariq Al Said, Advisor of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos. A group of traditional wooden boats, fishing boats and students of Thoraya Al - Busaidia School also took part in the ceremony reception.
In addition, senior dignitaries outlined the ship's participation in competitions and praised its achievements during its fourth international journey.
Colonel Sulaiman Al Hosni, Commanding officer RNOV Shabab Oman II said, “The Oman Youth Ship sailed to the European continent under the directives of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos, Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. This voyage was aimed at participating in maritime festivals and speedboat races by visiting 17 ports in 12 countries.”
Jeddah Islamic Port was the first to host the ship after leaving Oman. The Omani youth ship visited the Greek port of Rhodes, the port of Caleri, Italy, and the port of Lisbon, Portugal, before reaching the French city of Rouen for its first international participation.
It took part in the Armada Festival in the port of Rouen, France from June 6 to 16, and hosted nearly 125,000 visitors. “On the first day of the Armada festival 27,300 people visited the ship. By the end of the ship’s participation in the festival, the number of visitors had reached 125,000” Navy captain Al Hosni said.
“The ship received a large number of visitors including dignitaries and received wide media attention from the French media,” he added.
After that, the ship sailed to the port city of Scheveningen of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to participate in the Freedom Sailing Ships Festival during the period 20-23 June.
The ship's crew achieved first place in the sports competitions held among the crew of all participating ships. Also, the ship was crowned with the International Friendship Award for 2019 and the award for the best ship appearing in the Freedom Festival long ships sailing in The Hague.
Navy captain Sulaiman Al Hosni said, “We have honoured the name of the Sultanate in various festivals in the European continent, and we have won many awards, most notably the International Friendship Award at the Freedom Festival, which is considered the most prestigious award in maritime sailing."
Shabab Oman II then stayed in the port city of Aalborg in Denmark from 2-6 of July and the ship's crew participated in the opening of the festival city of Aalborg.
The crew helped in the promotion of tourism in the Sultanate by introducing visitors to the main attractions. They also held a traditional breakfast for the crews of all participating ships in the festival. The Shabab Oman II was crowned with three awards through its participation in the festival, winning first place in the category A long prize race sailing ships from the Netherlands to the Kingdom of Denmark, second prize for the best international ship participating in the festival and third prize for the most beautiful ship at the festival.
Later, the crew then participated in the opening ceremony of the maritime festival of the Norwegian city of Fredrikstad from 11-14 July with the rest of the ships participating in the long sailing races. The ship's crew introduced its visitors to the ship, its capabilities and its mission. In addition, in order to promote friendship and cultural mix, the crew of Shabab Oman II organized a meeting and a collective breakfast for the crew of the participating ships in the festival.
The ship continued to sail, with its next stop being the port of Arendal, Norway, for a day before arriving in the Norwegian city of Bergen to take part in the long ships sailing races along with 60 other ships from different countries of the world, where they won sixth place. On the sports day of the festival, Shabab Oman II’s crew achieved first place in football and volleyball. The ship also celebrated the day of the blessed Renaissance by organizing a reception for the leaders of all the ships participating in the Bergen festival. The celebration included an introduction to the Sultanate and its achievements, in addition to the establishment of a group of Omani arts.
At the end of the long sailing race 2019, the crew of the Shabab Oman II participated in the official opening ceremony of the festival, which was held in the Danish city of Aarhus from 1-4 August. On the first day of the festival, Shabab Oman II was visited by 10,000 people.
On the way back home, Shabab Oman II stopped at several different ports including Portsmouth in UK, Tangier in Morocco, Valletta in Malta from 8th – 11th September and Jeddah Islamic port for 2 days before heading to its homeland. Shabab Oman II arrived at Salah port where it stayed for one day before going onwards to Muscat.
As Navy captain Suleiman mentioned “On the way back, the ship stopped at several ports for supplies and to replace some trainees.” He added, “When the ship arrived home it was greeted with a festive celebration befitting its status. The Shabab Oman II team received many visitors to the ship after the celebration and introduced the most prominent achievements, in addition to showing pictures of the trip to the ship's visitors.”