NEW YORK – Victor Mooney, a national of Equatorial Guinea, delivered his rowing uniform, Holy Quran, Ghutra, African belt and other gear to United Arab Emirates (UAE) New York City Consulate as a final tribute to His Highness, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan – may God rest his soul in peace – Ruler of Abu Dhabi and Founding President of the UAE on Wednesday. Sheikh Zayed died on November 2, 2004.
On Tuesday, November 1, 2016, Victor Mooney visited the Islamic Leadership School (ILS) in the Bronx. At the ILS, the students and faculty sign a board to commemorate the late Emirati Ruler. Mr. Mooney talked about the legacy of Sheikh Zayed and to never give up. In 2007, the ISL joined a press conference at New York City Hall with Mr. Mooney to save lives in the fight against AIDS.
Mr. Mooney began making his homage to Sheikh Zayed on a second attempt to row across the Atlantic Ocean from Senegal to New York in 2009. Mr. Mooney chose to honor Sheikh Zayed because of his spirit, humble nature and humanity with both his countrymen and countries across the world. His boat was called the Spirit of Zayed and he hoped his transatlantic row from would bring relief to the AIDS epidemic. Unfortunately, Mr. Mooney had to abort his row near Guinea –Bissau due to equipment failure.
Upon my return to New York, United Arab Emirates based newspaper, The National, dispatched a reporter who wrote an article titled – Tears for Zayed. From that point on, I knew to honor Zayed the mission must be completed, said Victor Mooney.
Mr. Mooney would fail again in 2011 when his boat took on water near Cape Verde. Mr. Mooney survived fourteen days drifting in a life raft before being rescued by a cargo ship. On February 19, 2014, his fourth transatlantic rowing attempt, Mr. Mooney departed Las Palmas, Canary Islands and arrived at the Brooklyn Bridge on November 28, 2015. During the five-thousand mile row, he faced many obstacles from a shark damaging his boat, loosing eighty pounds to a pirate attack in Haitian waters.
Mr. Mooney’s boat was sponsored by the government of Equatorial Guinea with the personal support from the Head of State, His Excellency Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.
Sheikh Zayed is an inspiration for the world. He put the principles of perseverance, integrity and partnership to work. This course has been accelerated with the wise leadership of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of United Arab Emirates, Mr. Mooney added.
Equatorial Guinea is the host country for the Fourth Africa – Arab Summit, which will convene later this month. The theme for this year’s gathering is Sustainable Development and Economic Cooperation.
I hope the Spirit of Zayed soars in Equatorial Guinea, said Victor Mooney.