Royal Navy of Oman's flagship in Malta for three-day visit

The 85-metre tall ship Shabab Oman II has sailed into Grand Harbour for a three-day visit in what is being described as being the first of many visits by tall ships planned for the next few years

The Shabab Oman II is the flagship of the Royal Navy of Oman
The Shabab Oman II is the flagship of the Royal Navy of Oman

The 85-metre sail training flagship of the Royal Navy of Oman, the “Shabab Oman II”, sailed into Grand Harbour yesterday to a gunfire salute from the saluting battery. 

The general public is responding to the Captain’s invite and witnessing the grandeur of the flagship from its very decks. A parade was held this morning in Valletta, during which the Omani sailors delighted locals and tourists alike with a display of their local music and tradition along Valletta’s Republic Street.

Yachting Malta’s Chief Executive Officer, Wilfrid Buttigieg, said that this visit was part of a series of events being planned between 2017 and 2020 whereby a number of tall ships were envisaged to visit Malta with the aim of creating a long-term tall ship legacy.

“Tall Ships have a strong following and we are confident that such events will strengthen Malta’s position as a sail training destination and host port for yachting events in the Mediterranean,” he said.

“The classic elegance and beauty of just one Tall Ship is a crowd puller in itself, let alone what ten or twenty vessels of this kind can do if brought together inside the Grand Harbour.”

Tourism minister Konrad Mizzi confirmed this was not a one-off event and that it was not only related to the world of sailing.

“There is a strong cultural element and also one that is centred on motivating and educating younger generations,” he said. “This is thanks to the element of training that such ships provide to aspiring youths.”

Paul Thompson, the Commercial Director of Sail Training International, held that tall ship races and regattas are a unique celebration of maritime heritage, youth development, international friendship and understanding.

The presence of a tall ships regatta in Malta could provide a memorable festival of relevance and benefit to residents, visitors, local businesses and the media.

Shabab Oman II will be berthed at Pinto Wharf, Valletta and open for the general public to visit its decks until 5pm today and between 10am and 7pm tomorrow. Entrance is free of charge.

The vessel will leave Malta on Monday.

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