They are thousands of miles apart across the Arabian Sea, but the political
storm brewing in distant Qatar has sunk hopes in the boat manufacturing
industry in Beypore, in the Malabar region of North Kerala.
The coastal town has supplied over 10 customized luxury dhows to Qatari
royalty during the last six years, but with the recent blockade imposed on that
country by its Arab neighbors, the future of the traditional boat building
industry appears bleak.
The luxury dhows, commissioned by the Qatar royal family, are currently
under construction at a boatyard at Beypore near Calicut. As per current contract,
the 100 feet long vessels are to sail to Dubai for interior works by next year
before they are taken to their final destination in Doha.
Ever since news came in of the Gulf crisis, the boatyard owners have been
in constant touch with his major clients in Qatar. They have also been in touch
with Qatari authorities who have commissioned the dhow projects on behalf of
the Qatar royal family. Qatari authorities told them not to panic and that the
current issues in the Gulf are temporary and would get resolved soon.
The luxury boat manufacturing industry, an ancient industry in North
Malabar region had almost become defunct but for the patronage of Qatar royal
family who have placed regular orders from the boatyards in the region.