Among the guests at the ceremony were representatives of the Royal Navy of the Netherlands and Omani diplomats. Speaking on behalf of the Omani Royal Navy, Commodore Khalifa said, “This new vessel will sail around the world with a message of peace and friendship. Thank you to Damen for building this magnificent ship for us.”
The Dutch flag was subsequently lowered from the stern spanker line to be replaced by the Omani Naval ensign while a local orchestra played the Omani national anthem.
“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,” said Damen CEO René Berkvens during the ceremony describing the clipper as “an extremely powerful performer - a true diamond of the sea.”
The acceptance ceremony follows the successful completion of sea trials in late July that took place in North Sea coastal waters around Vlissingen.
“During the trials, we checked everything that cannot be tested while moored in the harbor,” explained Damen Project Manager Arnoud Both. Shabab Oman’s impressive 2,700 m² sail area was also put to the test.
“The proper functioning of the sails and propulsion systems can only be tested at sea. With a total of 28 sails, and the amazing amount of standing and running rigging involved, it was wonderful to see that everything works smoothly. We have 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,” Both explained.
Damen brought in eight of its own technical personnel and a number of systems subcontractors for the sea trials. However, sailing such a special vessel requires specialized expertise.
“We hired an experienced clipper Captain and some of the Officers and crew members from another Damen-built clipper, the Stad Amsterdam,” said Both. The crew of the 76-metre Stad Amsterdam was enthusiastic about the sea trials. “It was great to hear the positive feedback from the crew about the sailing experience and handling characteristics of the Shabab Oman II. The ship handles well and can sail closer to the wind due to design improvements from Dykstra Naval Architects.”
Three different Damen yards have coordinated their construction, engineering and naval architectural expertise to produce this high performance sailing vessel: Damen Shipyards Gorinchem handled overall project management and procurement while Damen Shipyards Galati in Romania performed the major construction works, launching the clipper in December last year. Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding in Vlissingen then took over with its own personnel and subcontractors carrying out final outfitting works such as installation of the three 50-metre steel/aluminum masts, rigging and spars as well as modern technical systems.
Damen’s proven track record in constructing traditional steel clippers now stands strong with this third STV delivery – the company previously having built the 74-metre CisneBranco, the Brazilian navy’s STV, and the Stad Amsterdam.