Considered to be an important ambassador for Oman, having visited ports in Arab and other countries as part of its training programme, Shabab Oman (meaning 'youth of Oman'), has been promoting cultural contacts since 1983 when it took on its ambassadorial role.
It was inducted into RNO fleet in 1979.
Oman has awarded Damen Shipyards Group a contract for the construction of an STV.
The 87m square rigged, three-masted steel clipper will take up the role as flagship.
In addition to its key role of training young Omani navy cadets and officers, the new clipper will be deployed in a distinct diplomatic role and will emphasise Oman’s centuries-old maritime tradition.
In March, 2013 the ship’s keel laying ceremony took place at Damen Shipyards Galati, Romania, conducted by Rear Admiral Abdullah bin Khamis al Raisi, RNO’s commander-in-chief.
Overall project management and procurement is in the hands of Damen Shipyards Gorinchem, whereas Damen Shipyards Galati forms the main building site.
The clipper’s completion will be performed at Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding in Flushing, the Netherlands.
Here, the three 50m steel/aluminium masts and the exterior woodwork will be installed, in addition to interior wood lining furnishing and finish.
Both inside and out, the sail training clipper will feature a clear, traditional Omani look and the late 19th century tea clipper hull characteristics.
The ship and the overseeing team are expected to be in Flushing for the completing stage late this year.
“We have our proven record in steel clippers to thank for this contract,” said Bram Langeveld, Damen regional sales director. “Modern-day sophisticated sail training ships may even become a bit of a trend with us and we are very proud that Oman has awarded this prestigious contract to us,” Langeveld added.
The as yet nameless three-master will accommodate 34 navy recruits in addition to a 58-strong complement.
To be 87m long and 11m wide, it will have 2,700sq m sail area.
For Saleh al Jabri, the captain of Jewel of Muscat and now an instructor at Oman Sail, who spent close to 20 years on Shabab Oman, it will be an emotional moment to see the vessel leave its services as an ambassador of Oman.
“I started as a sailor on Shabab and graduated to be a training officer. Looking back on those years when we travelled around the world on friendship and diplomatic visits on the vessel brings back fond memories,” he said.
Jabri added that the induction of a new modern vessel will keep alive the tradition of training the cadets, and Oman's ancient maritime history.
“Shabab has been the floating embassy of the sultanate and its outstanding contribution will be etched in history.”