Steel boats are now built in Mangalore

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indigenous: A Steel fishing trawl being built in Mangalore.
indigenous: A Steel fishing trawl being built in Mangalore.

Govind D. Belgaumkar

Two such boats have been rolled out of Sultan Batheri yard

The boats cost Rs. 25 lakh to Rs. 30 lakh each

They can achieve a speed of 10 nautical miles an hour

MANGALORE: Steel trawl boats, hitherto built in Goa and Kochi, are now being built in Mangalore.

People desirous of buying a new boat or replacing their old ones can now come to Sultan Batheri here where Karthikeya Boat Builders has started building these boats. They have supplied two of them to a customer, who has indented for seven.

Trawl boats, which cost between Rs. 25 lakh and Rs. 30 lakh each, are used for deep sea fishing. Ventures into the sea on trawl boats last for 10 to 15 days.

While at least four entrepreneurs build wooden boats in Mangalore, there was no one specialising in steel boats. People in the industry say that the demand for steel boats is on the rise.

Karthikeya Boat Builders offers trawl boats in two sizes: 65 ft x18 ft and 50 ft x16 ft. The large ones cost about Rs. 30 lakh each and the small Rs. 25 lakh each. At present, orders have been received for large boats only.

The entrepreneur, Thukaram Bangera, was a fisherman earlier but he was “more on shore than off shore.” He was repairing boats for about three decades. His dream of setting up a boat yard was realised a few months ago.

Yojaka Marine Pvt. Ltd., which owns 18 boats of different types, has placed indents for seven boats with Karthikeya Boat Builders. Jagadish Boloor, managing director of Yojaka Marine Pvt. Ltd., who has taken delivery of two boats, is satisfied with their quality. The boats have been able to achieve a speed of 10 nautical miles an hour as against the normal 8 to 9 nautical miles an hour. For the first time, 200 HP motors have been fitted on the boats, according to Mr. Boloor. No trawl boat in Mangalore had been built with such a powerful motor, he claimed.

Mr. Boloor said many countries were looking at India for boat and ship building because of professionalism and quality, thanks to stringent rules and the regulatory body governing their manufacture. Most reputed yards in the country had enough orders for the next seven to eight years, he added.

Although 18 tonnes to 19 tonnes of steel was being used in the construction of every boat, these steel boats were lighter than the wooden ones. Steel boats also moved faster. Although maintenance of wooden boats was easy, the difficulty was in finding the wood, he said. Mr. Boloor said he saved Rs. 5 lakh on each boat because the new yard was near his residence.

Deputy Director of the Department of Fisheries Sureshkumar Ullal said the new yard had filled a void at a time when the demand for steel boats was growing.

Mr. Bangera has employed a few skilled welders from Kochi. Weak welding could be an invitation for disaster in the middle of the sea. Hence, welding played a crucial role in the ship building industry, he said.




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