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Royal Navy of Oman Prepares for a New Flagship

The Royal Navy of Oman traces its lineage back to the seafarers who plied their trade on the Tigris, Euphrates, and Nile before the fourth millennium. As such, it’s only fitting that they have an impressive sail training vessel with which to showcase that heritage. The launch of the RNOV Shabab Oman in Galati, Romania in December, 2013 and her subsequent arrival at Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding in Vlissingen, Netherlands on Jan. 14 is another step toward that goal.

At more than 285 feet, the three-masted Shabab Oman is shaping up to be an impressive vessel. The full square-rigged Shabab Oman will have an expansive sail area over over 8,855 feet. And as befits a likely flagship of the Royal Navy of Oman, the Shabab Oman has elegant hand-carved gilded scrollwork and nameplates. The traditional clipper look can be deceiving, however. The Shabab Oman features the latest nautical technology.

“The vessel is on schedule and we are very proud to be involved in such a prestigious project for the Royal Navy of Oman.”

The recent trip to Vlissingen saw the Shabab Oman towed through the Black Sea, Bosphorus, Mediterranean, and into the Bay of Biscay. The work at the Damen shipyard in Vlissingen is being overseen by a team from the Royal Navy of Oman, while project management and procurement is being handled by Damen Shipyards Gorinchem. “The vessel is on schedule and we are very proud to be involved in such a prestigious project for the Royal Navy of Oman,” said  Arnoud Both, Damen project manager.

While in Vlissingen, the Shabab Oman will be outfitted with three 164-foot steel/aluminum masts, rigging and spars, and exterior teak woodwork and decking. The interior wood paneling, furnishing, and finish work is being performed by Hertel. Imtech Marine, Johnson Controls, and other companies are providing the advanced technology systems being fitted on the Shabab Oman. Although the Shabab Oman will be outfitted with modern cooling systems and generators as well as a back-up diesel engine, the ship will be navigated and sailed hands-on, with no automatic systems employed. Once the finishing touches are completed, the Shabab Oman will sail for delivery in August.

Al Rahmani

The upcoming addition of the Shabab Oman to the Royal Navy of Oman hasn’t been the only recent fleet expansion effort undertaken by Oman. The corvette Al Rahmani, the second of three planned Khareef-class corvettes, joined the Royal Navy of Oman after a celebration in October, 2013. Brian Burnell photo

The primary mission of the Shabab Oman will consist of training young Omani naval cadets and officers. Additionally, the ship will be deployed as a floating ambassador for Oman, promoting cultural interactions. The decision by Oman to invest in a sail training vessel is part of a larger effort to boost its naval capabilities with an ambitious fleet expansion. The Royal Navy of Oman also recently celebrated the delivery of the second of three planned Khareef-class corvettes that have been ordered from BAE Systems Maritime – Naval Ships.

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Steven Hoarn is the Editor/Photo Editor for Defense Media Network. He is a graduate of...