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RNOV Shabab Oman II in West India Dock

After a few days in Canada, it was a surprise to see a rather crowded West India dock on my return. One of the more interesting visitors is the Shabab Oman II is a sail training ship for the Royal Navy of Oman and is 87-metre (285 ft) long with a beam of 11 metres (36 ft). When fully rigged there is a total of 2,700 square metres (29,000 sq ft) of sails.

Shabab Oman II was built to replace the popular ageing Shabab Oman. The new ship is a three-masted squared rigged clipper, with a sailing speed of up to 17 knots. She has a crew of at least 90 made up of 54 permanent crew and 36 trainees.

Shabab Oman II was designed by Dykstra Naval Architects, Amsterdam, Netherlands. She was built by Damen Shipyards, Galaţi, Romania and launched on 2 December 2013.In 2014, she was towed to Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding, Vlissingen, Netherlands for fitting out, including the fitting of her masts.

She entered service with the Royal Navy of Oman in August 2014. Her first long voyage was the crossing of the Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea and the Sea of Oman to reach Muscat, the Omani capital.

In 2019, Shabab Oman II visited 17 ports in 12 countries and is a welcome visitor to London where she follows a long line of sail training ships that have visited the dock. It is always a thrill to see ships that are continuing the skills and traditions of sailing ships.