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This was our first destination in the Middle East and the desert terrain was a real shock after the lush green countries of Thailand, Sri Lanka and the Maldives and other tropical countries.

 

Overview 

Oman is an oil-rich country with a first world infrastructure, Bedouins still herding camels, and an Islamic culture, run by an enlightened and benevolent Sultan.  We found it very interesting and very safe place to visit.

General Information
 
Country Code:  968
Time Zone:    +4 hours from UTC
Currency:      Rial Omani

Check In/Out Procedures  (as of 2003)

Check-In  - These are the procedures we followed in 2003 to follow to check into Oman

  • Call Salalah Port Control on Channel 16 when you are about 2 miles out and again when you reach the breakwater.  Port Control may direct you wait outside, if there is traffic in the port.  Once you have been granted permission to enter, proceed to the small boat anchorage - the second area on the port-hand side.  (Be careful not to anchor too close to the port side of the anchorage as the Oman Naval patrol boat tied up to the seawall leaves several times a week to patrol the coast and needs lots of room to maneuver.  They back all the way out of the anchorage.)  Once anchored Port Control will arrange for the Port Police and Immigration to visit you.  You must wait on board until you have been cleared in.  Sometimes they are busy and either forget you or involved in something else, so if you gently remind Port Control, they will call them again.  They will eventually come.

  • The Port Police will visit the boat and examine your boat papers, zarpe (Clearance from your last port), and ask for a crew list.  The boat master will be required to fill out several forms.  They take and hold your passports for the duration of your stay.  If you apply for a visa, your passports will be stamped and returned to you; otherwise there will be no stamp in your passport.  Once cleared, visit the Port Police office to get a shore pass that allows you to leave the port and travel into town and the surrounding areas.  They usually issue you a 3-day pass with 3 stamps on it.  For longer stays visit the Port Police to have more stamps added to the pass.  If you say that you plan to stay longer than 1 week, and you ask nicely, they may issue a pass with 7 stamps.  Some cruisers were issued a 1-day pass and had to go to the Port Police office daily to get a stamp.  This is really a problem because often the person who issues the pass is not there and you must wait.  This is especially a problem on Fridays (the Muslim equivalent of the Christian Sunday).  The Port Police office is supposed to be open 24 hrs./day, but we found that they were there from about 8-11 am and then 4-9 or 10 pm, so best to go early. 

  • With the stamped shore pass, you may leave the port and travel to Salalah and  surrounding areas, but not through any border checkpoints.  When leaving or entering the Port gate, show your pass to the military guard - some may get to know you and wave you through.  If you are in a car, they may ask you to open the trunk (boot) to inspect it.  Jerry cans of fuel or groceries (normal stuff), have not been a problem.  At night, turn off headlights when approaching the gate, so you will not blind the guard.  The military guards are in uniform and armed but are usually very courteous and professional.

Check-out -  These are the procedures that you follow to check out.  Take your boat papers, crew list and all shore passes with you.

  • Visit Customs and Immigration first.  The offices are located on the other side of the port by the container cranes about 1-1/2 km. away from the anchorage, so try to get Mohammed or another cruiser who has a car to give you a ride.  Customs will issue a sailing permit

  • Take the sailing permit and your shore pass to the Port Police office.  They will then take the pass and return your passports.  They will ask when you are going to depart and you will be required to leave on or before that time on the day you checked out.  If you need to return for mechanical or other problems (as we and others did) that will usually not be a problem.  If you do not leave the boat, you will not be required to check in.  But if you do need to come ashore, you must check in again.

  • Call Port Control as you leave the harbor and give them your departure number from the sailing permit.

 
 

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