KSA set to get 48 German patrol boats

A German fast patrol boat TNC 35 is shown in this photo from the Lürssen company's website. Lürssen is making of of such patrol boats for Saudi Arabia. (Courtesy of Lürssen website)
Updated 04 August 2016

KSA set to get 48 German patrol boats

RIYADH: Germany is all set to supply 48 patrol boats to Saudi Arabia within the framework of its border security project.
The first patrol craft will arrive soon as controversies surrounding the export of defense and security equipment to the Kingdom have begun to die down, said Dieter Walter Haller, German ambassador, on Wednesday.
Haller said the patrol boats would be supplied to the Kingdom in a staggered schedule.
Speaking to Arab News, he pointed out that Germany's Bremen-based dockyard, Luerssen, has already started building 15 patrol vessels for the project's first phase. The vessels are aimed at protecting the huge Saudi coastal region.
The patrol boats to be procured under the current contract come in two forms. The first are the 'TNC 35' models, which are 35-meter-long and are propelled by two diesel engines with a combined output of 7,800 kilowatts. The boat can reach speeds of up to 40 knots. The second models, 'FPB 38' are 38-meter-long and can reach speeds of up to 31 knots.
He said a Shoura Council delegation would visit Germany later next month with the aim of expanding cooperation in parliamentary affairs and legislature. Shoura members will interact with the members of the Bundestag, the 630-member German parliament.
He said his mission would be to “strive hard to boost links in various sectors, especially in the fields of economy, defense and culture.”
To this end, he added that the Kingdom is an important partner for Germany: “As G20 members, close coordination between our two countries is becoming ever more important, as Germany will hold the G20 presidency next year.”
In fact, the G20 summit under the German presidency is scheduled to be held on July 7th and 8th next year in Hamburg, the second largest city in Germany.
On the cultural front, Dieter pledged to work closely with Saudi agencies to forge stronger ties. In this context, he noted the successful participation of Germany as guest country in Janadriyah earlier this year.
Indeed, cultural engagement will be a priority for the two countries moving forward, as Germany has become more diverse culturally and in terms of religion, with more than four million Muslims living in the country today. Beyond this, the diplomat fondly recalled the high-profile Saudi cultural exhibition entitled the “Roads of Arabia” that was staged in Berlin in 2012 with the aim of demonstrating the archeological richness, values, and heritage of the Kingdom.

Motorsport, rock bands, tourists … welcome to the new Saudi Arabia

There was an explosion of joy at the podium when Antonio Felix da Costa lifted the winner’s trophy at the conclusion of the Formula E Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix on Saturday. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 16 December 2018

Motorsport, rock bands, tourists … welcome to the new Saudi Arabia

  • Three-day event at Ad Diriyah reaches spectacular climax in an unprecedented spirit of openness

The driver with the winner’s trophy was Antonio Felix da Costa — but the real winners were Saudi Arabia itself, and more than 1,000 tourists visiting the country for the first time.

Da Costa, the Andretti Motorsport driver, won the Formula E Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix in front of thousands of race fans at a custom-built track in the historic district on the outskirts of Riyadh.

But in truth, the event was about much more than high-tech electric cars hurtling round a race track — thrilling though that was. The three-day festival of motorsport, culture and entertainment was Saudi Arabia’s chance to prove that it can put on a show to rival anything in the world, and which only two years ago would have been unthinkable.

The event was also the first to be linked to the Sharek electronic visa system, allowing foreigners other than pilgrims or business visitors to come to Saudi Arabia.

Jason, from the US, is spending a week in the country with his German wife, riding quad bikes in the desert and visiting heritage sites. “I’ve always wanted to come for many, many years ... I’m so happy to be here and that they’re letting us be here,” he said.

Aaron, 40, a software engineer, traveled from New York for two days. “Saudi Arabia has always been an exotic place ... and I didn’t think I’d ever be able to come here,” he said.

About 1,000 visitors used the Sharek visa, a fraction of what Saudi Arabia aims eventually to attract. 

“Hopefully we will learn from this and see what we need to do for the future, but I can tell you from now that there is a lot of demand,” said Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, vice chairman of the General Sports Authority.

His optimism was backed by Kirill Dmitriev, chief executive of the Russian Direct Investment Fund and a visitor to Ad Diriyah. “Such events will attract tourists and are a true celebration for young Saudis who desire a bright future,” he said.

“The vision of moderate Islam, promoted by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is important both for the region and the entire world, and its realization needs to be appreciated, respected and supported.”

The event ended on Saturday night with a spectacular show by US band OneRepublic and the superstar DJ David Guetta. “Just when you think things can’t get better, they suddenly do,” said concertgoer Saleh Saud. “This is the new Saudi Arabia, and I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next.”