Barcelona, Aug 12 (EFE).- The traditional Qatari vessel Fath al-Khair 5 arrived Friday at the Port of Barcelona after a lengthy voyage across the Mediterranean Sea, putting down anchor off the Moll de la Fusta quay 100 days before the World Cup gets under way in that Arab nation.
The boat set sail on July 4 from Malta’s Grand Hyper Marine port and made stops in several Italian and French ports before docking in Barcelona, a journey that is part of efforts to promote soccer’s showcase event.
The Fath al-Khair 5, which toured remote parts of the Persian Gulf in 2012, made the voyage to Barcelona with the goal of introducing the people of that Catalan city and all of Spain to different aspects of Qatari culture.
The ship will be open to the public for three days before sailing to the nearby Spanish town of Mataro, where it will undergo maintenance work for three months prior to embarking on its return voyage to Qatar.
Qatar’s ambassador to Spain, Abdullah bin Ibrahim Abdulrahman Sultan al-Hamar, said this traditional vessel is a means of showcasing the Arab nation’s cultural wealth and stressed his nation’s ties of friendship with Spain and its admiration for Barcelona.
He said the World Cup is very important to the Arab nation, noting that large-scale investments have been made in building new stadiums and other infrastructure and pledging that Qatar will be ready in 100 days to dazzle the world.
The president of the Port of Barcelona, Damia Calvet, said for his part that it was an honor to have received the docking request for that iconic Qatari ship.
“We like for things very related to the city, to sports and everything pertaining to social and cultural events to happen at Moll de la Fusta,” Calvet said of the vessel’s arrival.
Also present at the welcome ceremony for the Fath al-Khair 5 was Qatari Culture Secretary Khalid al-Sulaiti, who said the docking in Barcelona was a gesture of hospitality aimed at showcasing Qatar’s rich culture to all of those wanting to travel to the World Cup.
He added that Barcelona was chosen as the last stop on the ship’s voyage because of that Spanish city’s rich culture and its love of soccer.
The 2022 World Cup in Qatar will kick off on Nov. 20 with a Group A match pitting the host nation against Ecuador and will conclude with the tournament final on Dec. 18. EFE