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Mon 19 Mar 2012 11:12 AM

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UK sailors injured in Oman boat blast

Warship Al Shamikh was undergoing sea trials off coast of Britain

UK sailors injured in Oman boat blast
The 99m long Al Shamikh vessel was undergoing a pre-delivery testing operation off the coast of Dorset (AFP/Getty Images - image for illustrative purposes only).

An explosion on-board an Omani warship undergoing sea trials off the coast of England injured three British sailors, it was reported.

The 99m
long Al Shamikh vessel was undergoing a pre-delivery testing operation off the
coast of Dorset in the UK when the blast occurred, according to local newspaper
the Dorchester People.

The ship,
which was due to be handed over to the Sultanate of Oman Navy later this year,
was carrying a crew of Omani sailors and employees of British military contractor BAE Systems.

According to
reports, three of the sailors were injured during the blast and taken to Dorset
County Hospital, and the ship was covered with a tarpaulin following the
incident.

The
circumstances of the explosion remain unclear, but BAE Systems confirmed that
the incident occurred during test firings.

Upon
its arrival in Oman, the ship is expected to take part in patrols off the coast
of the country, help defend Omani waters and aid peacekeeping and anti-piracy
operations.

This is the
second time the Al Shamikh has had difficulties during its test stage. BAE said it
also experienced engineering issues during sea trials last year.