Text of speech by H.E. Sayyid Badr bin Hamad Albusaidi, Secretary General, Oman Ministry of Foreign Affairs, at the Gala Evening

1st February 2010

Excellencies, distinguished guests, supporters, friends and partners, esteemed colleagues, Ladies and gentlemen.

It is my honour to welcome you to this fine event celebrating the successful completion of one phase of the Jewel of Muscat project, and the beginning of another.

I have the great honour to formally announce here that it was His Majesty Sultan Qaboos, who had given his blessings and generous support to this project, and subsequently named the ship ‘The Jewel of Muscat’.

I have been privileged to see the Jewel at several points in her development, from her conception as an idea, to her evolution as a blueprint, a keel on the sand, a hull stitched together with the utmost care and finally, a gorgeous ship riding the waves with sails unfurled.

At each stage she has grown in her personality, more fully representing not only Oman’s past, but also our present achievements, national pride and spirit.

She is beautiful.

When her mast was fitted, the Jewel was docked near one of the most modern, state-of-the-art yachts. The contrast between the two was remarkable. Twelve hundred years of Omani Maritime heritage were captured in that single image, two eras, centuries apart, united by the continuity of the sea. But in my ‘unbiased’ opinion, the Jewel stole the show.

She has already helped to successfully revive an important aspect of Omani heritage. The project’s engagement with schools and youth is perhaps one of its greatest contributions, linking young people with their national history whilst also offering them knowledge, practical skills, and a new range of possibilities for their own futures.

The revival of Oman’s maritime traditions, is inspiring Omanis, young and old, men and women. More importantly, it is demonstrating that with hard work and determination, dreams can become reality.

I would like to acknowledge here the hard work and dedication of the Jewel of Muscat team who have laboured over the past two years to make this dream become reality. They have met and overcome obstacles posed by weather, tides, time, the unpredictability of experimentation, and basic challenges of coordinating a great number of people, talent and skill.

We are proud and appreciative of what they have achieved thus far. Please join me in thanking them for their efforts, and in wishing the Jewel’s Crew well on the next exciting phase of the project: ‘The Epic Voyage itself, from Muscat to Singapore.

Thank you again for being here, celebrating our beautiful Jewel and for being part of this memorable moment of history in the making.

والسلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته