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Oman Sail pays tribute to lost sailor Mohammed Al Alawi

October 29th, 2015

Oman Sail held a prayer on October 27 for esteemed team member and sailing instructor, Mohammed Al Alawi, who disappeared in Croatian waters on October 7 2015.  Oman Sail employees gathered to read a Du’a, led by local imam Ibrahim Al Saqri, for their colleague at Oman Sail headquarters in Al Mouj Muscat.

Mohammed was part of the Musandam-Oman Sail MOD70 crew which were on their way to deliver the boat to the Barcolana Regatta in Italy. In the early hours of Wednesday 7 October morning, the trimaran was hit by a strong gust of wind that caused the boat to heel violently. The crew regained control of the boat quickly but Mohammed fell into the waters. The crew searched for their colleague right away, alerting the authorities immediately and identifying the area of search.

However, after nine days and a collaborative effort between Croatian and Italian coastguards, the Oman Sail crew, private search and rescue companies, conducted by both sea and air, the search for Mohammed remained without results and was called off by local authorities.

Mohammed Ahmed Mohammed Al Alawi joined Oman Sail in July 2009 after being selected by the Ministry of Sports Affairs, where he had completed his training as a sailor as part of a project to establish an Omani Hobie 16 team. He joined the race team in March 2010 and was part of the crew that finished third in the “Sail the Gulf” regatta in Qatar.

Since joining Oman Sail, Mohammed enjoyed a very progressive career with Oman Sail, which took him to advanced dinghy sailing. In 2015 he took part in the Tall Ships Race from Norwich, England, to Denmark, showing his skill, versatility and enthusiasm as a sailor.

David Graham, Oman Sail Chief Executive Officer, said: “Mohammed had been with the company for a long time and was a cherished member of the Oman Sail family. Many of us had special moments working closely with him. He had a very bright future in the sport of sailing and our memories of him, as part of our team and the impact he had on our company, will be treasured always.”

Saleh Al Jabri, Centre Manager at the Marina Bandar Al-Rowdha Sailing School, said, “Mohammed was a key part of our team and a hard worker. He was a great colleague, full of enthusiasm and highly thought of by everybody at the Sailing School. The children loved him and his way of teaching them how to sail ensured they learned while also having fun every time they went out in the boats. He was lost doing his duty for his country and will always be remembered.”

October 15th, 2015

In an immensely sad decision and after nine days, the search for Mohammed Al Alawi, has stopped and we are accompanying Mohammed’s father and uncle back to Muscat to be with their family at this tragic time. The Italian and Croatian coastguards remain on alert. 

“We are completely devastated,” said David Graham, Oman Sail Chief Executive Officer “Mohammed [26] has been a sailor and sailing instructor with Oman Sail for many years, he was a cherished member of the team with a hugely positive approach and passion for the sport. He was a highly respected colleague and will be greatly missed. We are doing everything that we can to support his family at this difficult time.”

Mohammed Al Alawi was reported Man Overboard on Wednesday 7 October, pre-dawn, just south of Pula in Croatia. The MOD70 trimaran Musandam-Oman Sail was on a delivery from Lorient, France to Trieste in Italy for the Barcolana. A combined search effort between the Croatian coastguard and Oman Sail began immediately using all means available: aircraft, RIBs, the MOD70 and coastguard launches. 

Time and tidal patterns prompted the search to shift to the Italian side of the Adriatic Sea between Ancona and Rimini yesterday. The search in this area continued today. Using a light aircraft, we searched the coast and coastal waters, sadly, once again, without results.

October 14th, 2015

Weather conditions cleared enough today on the Italian side of the Adriatic for the search for Mohammed to continue using light aircraft with a focus on the coast between Ancona and Rimini. Sadly, another day has passed with no results, but we will continue our search tomorrow.

October 13th, 2015

We have now moved our search operation to Italy where the search for Mohammed Al Alawi will continue along the Adriatic coast. Sadly today, weather conditions in the area deteriorated with high winds, rain and low visibility preventing the light aircraft from taking off and the search for our missing crew member from continuing. The Italian coastguard has put its stations along the Adriatic on alert and we plan to continue searching the coastline tomorrow weather permitting.

October 12th, 2015

The search for Mohammed Al Alawi, our missing sailor, continued for a sixth day today both on the water and in the air and with the combined efforts of the Croatian coastguard and the Oman Sail search teams.

The Oman sail boat and the Croatian coastguard searched the water, and the Oman Sail search team also flew a light aircraft along the Italian coast in the hope of finding Mohammed, sadly without results.

As day six comes to an end, the Croatian coastguard has informed Oman Sail that this will be their final day of searching and they have expressed their extreme regret not to have been able to find Mohammed. David Graham, Oman Sail CEO, said, “It is with immense sadness we heard the news that Croatian coastguards have concluded the search and Mohammed remains missing. That said, we completely understand why and respect their decision, The coastguard have worked tirelessly alongside our crews for everyday since Mohammed was lost at sea. The search has been thorough and extensive and Mohammed’s father, asked me to convey his deepest gratitude for their efforts, and all involved in the search which we, Oman Sail, echo”

The Italian coastguard has put all stations along the coast of the Adriatic on alert.

October 11th, 2015

Five days into our search for Mohammed Al Alawi, our missing Musandam-Oman Sail crewmember, and the area of focus has extended into Italian waters. Croatian and Italian coastguards are in contact to coordinate the next phase. The Croatian coastguard who has worked tirelessly since Wednesday alongside the Oman Sail search team was on standby today to continue looking for Mohammed, but unfortunately, Saturday’s bad weather continued into today and the high winds, bad visibility and rough sea state grounded the search aircraft. Tomorrow conditions are expected to improve and we aim to continue the search from the air.

October 10th, 2015

Mohammed Al Alawi, 26-year-old crewmember of MOD70 trimaran Musandam-Oman Sail remains missing this evening following a Man Overboard incident last Wednesday 7 October in the early hours of the morning, pre-dawn, just south of Pula in Croatia while the MOD70 was en route from France to Trieste in Italy for the Barcolana.

Day four and the extensive search for Mohammed continues and the search area has extended into Italian waters; the search team has been a mix of Oman Sail, private search and rescue companies and the Croatian coastguard, using helicopters, airplanes, and boats including Musandam-Oman Sail. Today’s inclement weather of strong easterly winds, limited visibility and rain was not conducive to a detailed search.

Ahmed Al Alawi, father of Mohammed, who is in Croatia with the team said “We [the family] extend our deep gratitude to all who are supporting this search, especially the Omani Government, the staff of Oman Sail, Her Excellency The Sultanate of Oman’s Honorary Consul of Croatia and the Croatian Coastguard who have been exemplary. We have been inundated with heart-felt messages of support which are much appreciated.”
The search continues.

October 9th, 2015

Our team left the shore at 05.30 this morning to continue the search and get to the pre-determined search areas at first light. The air and sea search team are working in coordination with the coastguard and will be joined by Mohammed’s father and uncle today. The absolute priority at this stage is to find Mohammed and no effort will be spared in the pursuit of that objective.

October 8th, 2015

Further to our report of a Man Overboard (MOB) on Wednesday 7 October at 05:05 Central European Time, we can confirm that Mohammed Al Alawi, 26, went missing just south of Pula in Croatia while our MOD70 trimaran, Musandam-Oman Sail, was en route from Lorient via Marseille in France to Trieste in Italy, to be present at the Barcolana yacht race, as part of our European season.

A combined operation between Oman Sail and the Italian and Croatian coastguards searched the area throughout the day on Wednesday but by nightfall they were unable to find Mohammed. The coastguards and Oman Sail resumed the search this morning and we will provide updates as soon as there is any news.

The absolute priority at this stage is to find Mohammed, and no effort will be spared in the pursuit of that objective. Oman Sail team members remain with Mohammed’s family to support them through this difficult time.

October 7th, 2015

Musandam-Oman Sail, MOD70, skipper Sidney Gavignet (FRA), reported a Man Overboard (MOB) at 05:05 Central European Time on Wednesday 7 October off the coast of Croatia (position: 44° 32′ 98N – 014° 02′ 50E). The Italian and Croatian coastguards are assisting with the search and rescue operation for missing crewmember Mohammed Al Alawi (26). Wind speed at the time of the MOB was 15-17 knots. Mohammed’s family has been notified and Oman Sail team members are with them and supporting them through this uncertain time. We will send an update on the situation when we have more information.