Oldest Shipyard Ceases To Function After 5 Millenia

191

After building wooden ships for the last 5,000 years, the historic Beypore shipyard in Kerala, India, is about to close down, reports Ship Nostalgia.

Uru orders come to a close

Orders for its speciality – a type of dhow called an uru – have finally dried up, the Nahvind Times reported.

Beypore vessels

Beypore was a regular source of ships for Arabian traders for 1,500 years from 500 AD.

But its fame as a shipbuilding centre since 3000 BC, the age of the ancient Mesopotamian Sumerian civilisation, was brought to light by a Captain Iwata, founder member of the Association of Sumerian Ships in Japan.

In 1990 he found the picture of a ship preserved in a cuneiform tablet in the Louvre museum in Paris. It had all the attributes of a Beypore-built vessel, down to the wooden nails and coir-lashed planks.

He came to Beypore and had a 300-ton wooden ship built and named Ki-en-gir, an ancient name for Sumeria.

Until 1918, when the First World War ended, Beypore shipyard was always busy. Then business slackened as steel ships took over the cargo business.

Cargo ships based on clipper models

Then there was a profitable business making cargoships modelled on the famous sailing clipper ships of Europe, but fitted with petrol engines.

The period between 1930 and the late 1980s was a time of moderate prosperity for Beypore, as Arab millionaires flush with oil money wanted to make elaborate dhows for family outings.

Protecting dhows from Malabar rains

In its heyday, Beypore built 20 dhows a year. The last ship to be built was a 130-foot-long dhow for an Arab customer completed in 2005.

The cost of such a ship, which takes four years to build, would be about INR 30m ($653,000).

Today there are only dilapidated sheds, once used for protecting the dhows from the torrential Malabar rains.

And the Indian government has decided to make the town of Beypore into a minor port at a cost of INR 5bn.

Did you subscribe to our daily newsletter?

It’s Free! Click here to Subscribe!

Source: Ship Nostalgia

4 COMMENTS

  1. BEING SO CLOSE TO MY NATIVE PLACE I ENJOYED THE OPPORTUNITY OF WITNESSING THEIR ACTIVITIES SINCE MY CHILD HOOD. I ALWAYS TOOK PRIDE OF THIS WELL KNOWN “URU” (WODDEN OCEAN GOING VESSELS”) BUILDING YARD. THEIR WELL CRFTED VESSLES SAILED ACROSS ARAB COUNTRIES MUCH BEFORE JESUS AND PROPHET WERE BORN AND ESTABLISHED INTERNATIIONAL TRADES. WHILE SPICES LIKE PEPPER, CINNAMON, CARDAMOM ETC, WERE THE EXPORTS, DATES, GOLD, SILK ETC WERE THE IMPORTS.
    NOW I FEEL SAD THAT THIIS 5000 YEAR OLD SHIPBUILDING YARD IS CLOSING DOWN !!

    • Thank you for reading and commenting.
      Keep reading for more such contents.
      We are glad that you like it.
      Regards,
      Team Mfame.

  2. it is very sad that Beypore shipbuilding yard is closing down. most of the earlier warships made out of wood were from India
    if you look at the history of wooden warships you will notice that British flags did not declare place of built as it show as India except for Canada, whereas rest of the other countries would always declare place of built.

    • Thank you for reading and commenting.
      We try to bring out as much authentic news as possible from all across the globe.
      Keep reading for more such contents.

      Regards,
      Team Mfame

LEAVE A REPLY

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.