Wednesday June 30, 2010
Traditionally-built ship pays a call on Port Klang
By EDWARD R. HENRY
“Our crew of 17 men were courageous and we all pulled together to brave the treacherous waters, torrential rain and blistering heat.
“Our biggest test was when we crossed the Bay of Bengal on the way to Penang,” said the skipper who has 25-years of experience with the Omani navy.
The Jewel of Muscat is an exact replica of the a 9th century Arab ship found shipwrecked off the coast of Indonesia in 1998 and it was hand-built with timber-and-coconut rope with not a single nail used.
Saleh, 41, said the wind was the main cause for concern throughout the journey but his 17-member crew steered the boat in a careful, calculated manner.
The ship is a joint project between the Omani and Singaporean governments and set sail from Oman on Feb 16.
It was conceived as a historical and cultural exchange after Singapore bought over 60,000 pieces of Chinese pottery that were found on the shipwrecked Arab boat off Belitung, Indonesia, over a decade ago.
Saleh said the aim of the journey was to replicate the ancient traders as closely as possible and it meant not using any modern navigational, cooking or household appliances and devices.
For the father of four, the most difficult task was keeping a look out for cargo ships and the thousands of small fishing boats they encountered on the way.
The Jewel of Muscat wiil be docked at Port Klang until June 27 before sailing off to its final destination in Singapore.
Upon arrival in the Lion City, the ship will be presented to the Singaporean people as a gift from the Sultanate of Oman.