By Yahya Al Salmani — MUSCAT: Dec. 5: A seminar on ‘Sohar Vessel’ journey to Canton Port in China under the theme, ‘Indications and Forecast’ began on Monday. His Highness Sayyid Haitham bin Tareq al Said, Minister of Heritage and Culture, inaugurated the seminar held at the lecture hall of Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. The opening ceremony began with the ministry’s speech presented by Hassan Mohammed al Lawati, the Adviser to the Minister for Heritage Affairs. He said the Sohar vessel sailed on November 23, 1980 from the Sultanate to reach the city of Canton (Guangzhou), China on July 10, 1981, covering a distance of 6,000 nautical miles. It passed through the ports of India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Malaysia.
“The name ‘Sohar’ has become a mirror of the historical relations between the two countries as it was the first city in the Arabian Peninsula to have relations with China between the 7th and 9th centuries AD.” The speech from the Chinese side was presented by Li Hong-Yu, Deputy Head of the Chinese delegation and the Counsellor, China Embassy in Muscat. He spoke about the relations between Oman and China. “The exchanges between Oman and China began in early history,” he said. The keynote speech was delivered by Mohammed bin Said al Wahaibi, a former adviser to the Minister of Heritage and Culture. He said, in 1979, His Majesty Sultan Qaboos gave his approval for a project to build a traditional Omani ship to sail from Muscat to Canton.
His Majesty told Sayyid Faisal bin Ali al Said, Minister of National Heritage and Culture, that Oman would bear all expenses of building this traditional ship, including travel expenses. His Majesty recommended that the ship be named ‘Sohar’. A photography exhibition documenting the journey of this vessel was also held. On Tuesday, three papers will be presented on Sohar vessel. The first one will discuss the Sohar vessel idea and its manufacturing, while the second one will give a briefing about the voyage of Sohar in the eyes of the Chinese. The third paper will discuss the challenges and secrets of the journey, which will be presented by Tim Sivirin, the Captain of Sohar vessel.