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The 85-metre sail training flagship of the Royal Navy of Oman, the “Shabab Oman II”, has arrived early on Friday morning after sailing through the Malta - Comino - Gozo channel and berthing at Valletta Cruise Port. A gunfire salute from the Saluting Battery welcomed the ship as she entered Grand Harbour with open sails.

The general public is responding to the Captain’s invite and witnessing the grandeur of the flagship from her very decks. Additionally, a parade was held this morning in Valletta, during which the Omani sailors delighted locals and tourists alike with a display of their local music and tradition along Valletta’s Republic Street. The sailors then participated in the gunfire salute at the Upper Barrakka Gardens.

Yachting Malta’s Chief Executive Officer, Wilfrid Buttigieg, explained that this visit is part of a series of events being planned between 2017 and 2020 whereby a number of tall ships are envisaged to visit Malta with the aim of creating a long term tall ship legacy.

“Tall Ships have a strong following - we are confident that such events will strengthen Malta’s position as a sail training destination and host port for yachting events in the Mediterranean” said Buttigieg. The classic elegance and beauty of just one Tall Ship is a crowd puller in itself, let alone what ten or twenty vessels of this kind can do if brought together inside the Grand Harbour” he added.

The Minister responsible for tourism, Konrad Mizzi, referred to the fact that this is not a one-off event and it is not only related to the world of sailing. On the contrary, there is a strong cultural element and also one that is centred on motivating and educating younger generations. This is thanks to the element of training that such ships provide to aspiring youths.

The added value towards the touristic product is consistently highlighted by Paul Bugeja, CEO of the Malta Tourism Authority, who held that such initiatives serve in order to attract a different type of touristic product to the Maltese Islands.

Edward Scicluna, the Minister for Finance, observed that the economic overspill of such events is considerable. He commented on the fact that the incoming tourism and marketing content generated is significant.

Paul Thompson, the Commercial Director of Sail Training International, held that tall ship races and regattas are a unique celebration of maritime heritage, youth development, international friendship and understanding. The presence of a tall ships regatta in Malta could provide a memorable festival of relevance and benefit to residents, visitors, local businesses and the media.

Shabab Oman II will be berthed at Pinto Wharf, Valletta and open for the general public to visit her decks on Saturday the 23rd between 10:00-17:00hrs and Sunday the 24th September between 10:00 and 19:00hrs. Entrance is free of charge. The vessel will leave Malta on Monday 25th.

This event is organised by Yachting Malta and the Malta Tourism Authority in collaboration with the Ministry for Tourism, the Ministry for Finance, Transport Malta, Yachting in Malta, Valletta 2018 and the Malta Sail Training Association.




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