After publishing my rant on Oman, and then discussing it with Fiona of ‘Roam II’, I agreed to write an additional entry specifically for yotties regarding the use of an agent.
Sadly it is nigh on impossible to undertake the paperwork required to enter Oman without the use of an agent. We know of one yacht who attempted this and was so distraught at the heartache involved they eventually succumbed and employed an agent too. More frustratingly, however, is that there is only one agent we are aware of and much of the rally fell out with him for over-charging for his services. Indeed he was charging double for fuel delivery and, despite what is written on other websites, it is perfectly legal to carry your own fuel through the security gates and into the marina if you hire a car. We were also charged for our anchorage, which we later found out was a made up charge. Also he charged us RS 15 a day for car hire when it is possible to find cars for RS 8. On other occasions our agent just didn’t turn up or failed to make important telephone calls to the authorities when requested. When confronted on these issues the agent got extremely angry, swore like a trooper and declared that all yotties were a waste of time and claimed that he was washing his hands of us. We never saw him again and all paperwork was subsequently undertaken by Lo. The agent’s name was Mohammed.
It is our guess that Salalah has seen an increase in yacht traffic due to the piracy situation. Once upon a time Aden was the main port of call and most yachts coming from the East would normally by-pass Oman but now it is an important stop in the route through Pirate Alley. Sadly thieves like Mohammed are benefiting from this.