SAIL TRAINING VESSEL RNOV SHABAB OMAN II
At Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS) in Vlissingen, the south-west Netherlands, in September last year, dignitaries of the Ministry of Defence of Oman gathered to mark the delivery of the Royal Navy of Oman’s new flagship – a Sail Training Vessel (STV) combining the grace of the 19th century with the comfort and technology of the 21st: The RNOV Shabab Oman II.
“The Shabab Oman II is an extremely powerful performer – a true diamond of the sea.”
In the finest naval tradition SIGMA
There is a long-standing relationship between the Netherlands and Oman, stretching back to the 17th century and both countries have a history of maritime traditions. In the present day, this relationship is expressed by close socio-economic ties, including reciprocal state visits, trade deals and education exchanges.
When it decided to increase naval capability along the country’s 3,165 km coastline with a fleet expansion, Oman awarded Damen the contract to build the new flagship: an iconic and elegant cutter vessel named the Shabab Oman II.
The building of the 87metre long, steel-hulled clipper was the result of coordination between three Damen yards. Project management was conducted from headquarters in Gorinchem, whilst the bulk of the building was carried out at Damen Shipyards Galati, in Romania. Following her launch in December 2013, the vessel was towed to the DSNS yard in Vlissingen for final outfitting – including the installation of her three, 50 metre masts.
The Shabab Oman II can accommodate 34 naval recruits as well as a 58-strong crew. In addition to her role as a training vessel, she will serve as an ambassador of her country and as a strong reminder of its proud naval heritage, as Rear Admiral Al Raisi, Commander in Chief of the Royal Navy of Oman pointed out: “Such a ship offers the possibility to train a generation of sailors. It will help to restore the glory of Oman as a maritime nation.”
The vessel combines the mystique of a 19th century clipper – with a fully unfurled sail area of 2,700 m2 – and the benefits of 21st century sailing. She features cutting edge bridge systems courtesy of Imtech and Alewijnse Marine. Three generators, plus emergency backup, ensure the supply of air-conditioning from Johnson Controls to every cabin and all internal spaces have been designed for low noise and vibration.
Proven track record
This is the third example of a Damen steel clipper, following the Stad Amsterdam and the Brazilian Navy’s Cisne Branco. On each occasion Damen has teamed up with Dykstra Naval Architects for the design of the vessels. Damen’s Project Manager for the Shabab Oman II, Arnoud Both: “This is a clipper with an Arabic touch. Our design partner toured Oman seeking inspiration for its interiors and furnishings. Finishing touches include hand-carved teak at the bow, teak palm leaves at the stern, and gilded interior woodwork from Hertel. Shabab Oman II’s main sail will also catch the eye – its khanjar dagger in a sheath superimposed upon two crossed swords is the emblem of Oman.”
Damen provided training for the crew of the Shabab Oman II, as Arnoud explains: “Even for experienced sailors, this is a complex sailing ship with 35 sails, each operated via eight ropes.” Training involved the crew going on board the Stad Amsterdam to learn how such a vessel is operated. Damen also provided separate training for the executive and technical officers.
When the Shabab Oman II underwent sea trials in the North Sea, along with an expert clipper captain, officers and crew of the Stad Amsterdam were present to lend a hand. “The proper functioning of the sails and propulsion systems can only be tested at sea,” states Arnoud. “With a total of 35 sails and the amazing amount of standing and running rigging involved, it was wonderful to see that everything works smoothly. We… put two years of blood, sweat and some tears into this project, but it is all worth it because it was such a beautiful moment seeing the ship at sea in full sail. It was a very emotional and fulfilling experience.”
At full sail, in the right conditions, the Shabab Oman II is able to reach speeds of up to 18 knots.
Following trials, at the vessel’s acceptance ceremony in September last year, Damen CEO René Berkvens, said, “This is a proud moment for Damen Shipyards. I wish the crew and captains of the Shabab Oman II fair winds, following seas and many returns to port. The Shabab Oman II is an extremely powerful performer – a true diamond of the sea.”