Thursday, 10 September 2009

Oman: High-speed ferry?

Last year we wanted to go to Musandam for our anniversary and similar thoughts ran through my mind once again. It’s been over a year since the launch of the super-duper ‘fastest in the world’ ferry service, so I checked the Internet for information, eventually finding the less-than-intuitive ‘National Ferries Company’ website ‘filled with exciting features and information’ (it says).
The website was obviously written as a schoolchild’s project judging by the amount of information, standard of English and some of the graphics. Having done a bit of cartography in my time, I was particularly impressed with the Overview with map of routes under the Timetable + Prices menu, which shows a graphic of a little catamaran sailing to the Musandam where it pauses, a dashed line is drawn and the boat reverses to Muscat. Very informative.
The text is much better:
'Shinas & Hormuz are a 65 meter, multi-purpose passenger vehicle catamaran ferry that has a capacity to carry 208 passengers and 56 cars. Talior-made for Oman’s ruggedly spectacular northern coastline, the ferry’s meets high safety and Passenger comfort standards. They billed as the world’s fastest diesel-powered vehicle ferry, are optimized to cover the 225 nautical mile journey at speed of up to 50 knots.'
The original plan was to introduce routes between Shinas and Khasab, (because there are many tourists in Shinas?) and eventually extend the service with more catamarans to Masirah and Salalah. Unfortunately the journey is too expensive, too long (six hours) and you still can't take a car. The company must be running at an impressive loss as I’m sure several thousand gallons of diesel per trip won’t be covered by a handful of passengers and a few savoury snacks.

Just out of interest, I attempted to book on line and received a most impressively-worded error. Even if I had succeeded, I would still have had to have driven to Ruwi (next to the Indian ‘kids’ school [for goats?]) to collect the tickets 24 hours before sailing! Now that’s progress.

4 comments:

Oman Ferry said...

When I went on a freebie ( wearing my travel agents hat) the two sales people gave a very poor presentation about the Ferry.
They included the remarkable fact that the Ferry will visit Thumrait, I had to get them to confirm that it would, and yes it would;
all recorded on Phone Video as I really had to check just in case I was sea sick and imagining it.

Mr. Steve said...

That'll be Thumrait-On-Sea then?

P.KUMAR said...

The original Idea was to ferry people from Shinas to khasab as you rightly pointed out then re-defined from Sohar to Khasab. They have been developing (at turtle pace) the jetty platform at Sohar corniche and it seems they may shortly start the ferry from there (Hearsay!!) My logic from Sohar/Shinas to Khasab will be economic and less sea Sick!!!. Oman tourism of course has its own VERY IMPRESSIVE LOGIC ???

Suburban said...

I am sure the feries are underwritten by MOD, and are not really here to support tourisim in any sense. And despite five year's lead time, we can't get cars on the things.

There is no other way such an obviously uneconomical project could be executed so badly, without any raised government eyebrows.

Great Blog. You are hilarious.