Ship sails to tell of ancient trade

 By Nadim Kawach - Emirates Business

More than 15 Omani sailors will set sail from the port of Muscat next month, heading for Singapore aboard a wooden vessel modelled on the famous Tang Treasure ship that sank in the Indian Ocean while laden with gold and other precious items belonging to the old Chinese Tang dynasty.

The 18-metre long Jewel of Muscat, a reconstructed ninth century sewn-plank ship, has started sailing in the Sea of Oman on the first sea trial ahead of its formal voyage to Singapore towards the end of February.

The wind-powered vessel is scheduled to start its journey across the Indian Ocean with transit stops along the western coast of India and other south Asian countries.

It will keep to ancient trade routes and stop in India, Sri Lanka and Malaysia before arriving in Singapore five months later, where it will be given as a gift from Oman to the people of Singapore.

"Singapore is one of Oman's oldest trading partners. Jewel of Muscat will be displayed in Singapore to highlight the awareness of the old trade routes between the two countries," Badr bin Hamoud Al Busaeedi, Director-General of the Omani Foreign Ministry, said at a launch ceremony this week.

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