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Watching the boat-builders at work in the dhow yards in Sur, hand-planing a plank of wood, it is easy to recognise a skill inherited from master craftsmen. Sur has long been famed for its boat-building industry and even in the 19th century – when the Portuguese invasion and the division of Oman into two separate sultanates had delivered a heavy blow to the port town’s trading capability – Sur still boasted an ocean-going fleet of 100 or more vessels. Demand for ocean-going boats declined once the British India Steamer Navigation Company became pre-eminent in the Gulf and the town’s fortunes declined correspondingly. Sur is currently enjoying a resurgence, however, thanks to the state-of-the-art liquid gas plant, which has generated lots of new jobs locally, and the newly opened fertiliser factory.