A few days short of a month after it docked at the port here, Jewel of Muscat, built on the lines of a 9th century Indo-Arab trade vessel, left for Galle in Sri Lanka on Saturday. On farewell, it was accorded a ceremonial escort by Navy and Coast Guard ships and helicopters.

The vessel, built in the Sultanate of Oman employing ancient shipbuilding techniques, had set sail from its shores on February 16 before docking at Kochi on March 15.

It will arrive in Galle on April 18. From there, it will sail to Penang and Malacca in Malaysia before reaching Singapore in June where it will be converted into a maritime history museum.

17-member crew

As the Jewel prepared to depart Kochi on Saturday morning, Home and Tourism Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan interacted with the crew in a goodwill gesture. On the second leg of the voyage, the ship has a 17-member crew with three replacements. Pushpadas Elamassery and Sajid Valappil, two Keralite crewmembers of the Jewel, are continuing their voyage.

Revisiting trade route

Built using planks sewn together with braided coconut fibre (without driving even a single nail into it) on the model of a 9th century vessel whose wreck was found off Indonesia over a decade ago, the wind-powered Jewel is on a historic voyage in that it revisits the ancient trade route between the Middle East and the Far East.

Besides Mr. Balakrishnan, Chief Commissioner of Customs Vineeth Ohri; Port Trust Chairman N. Ramachandran; Commodore V.K. Garg from the Navy and Commander Chauhan from the Coast Guard were present on the occasion to bid farewell to the Jewel. It was cast off by Mr. Balakrishnan, who let off the last rope.

Interactions

Earlier, Jewel's Captain Saleh Al Jabri said it was significant to note that the anti-fouling coat with goat fat and lime given to the vessel prior to its maiden trip was intact even after the first leg got over. However, the exterior of the ship was given another coat of anti-fouling using fish oil during its stay at the dry dock here.

In Kochi, its crew visited schools and held public and professional interactions.

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