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INTERVIEWS

 

 

INTERVIEW OF CAPTAIN MOHAMMAD.J SAYEED

By: Captain Intizar Mehdi

Dr. Fehmida Mehdi

I dialed his office number and spoke, Assalam-o-Alaikum! May I talk to Capt. M.J. Sayeed.

 

Walaikum Assalam. I am M.J. Sayeed speaking

Sir we would highly appreciate you to spare some time for us. We wish to take your interview for “MARINER”.

 

And he kindly agreed. It was pleasant sunny afternoon of 21st August when we arrived “COMPASS” his residence situated in Defence. He and his wife were very considerate and they also very kindly extended their hospitality.

 

QUESTION:

Sir, Any sweet memories of your childhood, cadetship and your service at sea?

 

ANSWER:

I remember playing in beautiful Bagh-e-Aam and diving in Hymayath swimming pool, enjoying Taa Tari Kheema parathaas and faluda. I have very happy memories of childhood.

I remember one evening standing outside the gate of our home. Some time in the year 1932 when I was in class 6th I was waiting for a friend. A bearded man in a long rope and a beard, holding tusbee called out to me, Oh son! Show me your hand, I answered back that I did not believe in fortune forecasting. He repeated show hands and get good luck and I repeated not my believe, I still remember his parting words ‘Oh Boy! Never mind, before you lies water, more water, years after years at sea, the seven oceans.

 

8th December 1938 was my eighteenth birthday and it was also my “DUFFERIN” passing out day. I with grace of Almighty Allah stood first in all subjects and I obtained Bombay Port Trust Scholarship.

 

Cadetship during those days was very tough. Senior officers used to call we cadets Khellasis. Partly fun and partly not good I have a memory that how white British wanted to harm cadets in any way they could, so one of their aim was to give working tasks in a manner that we could not coupe up and quit jobs which were already given after very tough competition and scrutiny. I was given task of chipping underneath a structure. I had rigged stage and I was getting down to bring chipping goggles. Captain saw me getting down from stage and asked me Khellasi Sayeed where are you going? I said, sir, I am going to bring chipping goggles. He rudely said No goggles for you Khellasi Sayeed. You are not going to get goggles and you will do chipping like this. Unfortunately in a sense he succeeded and a spot of rust together with paint embedded in my left eye. My eye started burning and tears not stopping. It was so bad inflammation that I could not tolerate it and I got into a small boat wearing boiler suit. I had not much money but I had a nice watch was given to me by one of my father’s friends. I went to Doctor. He said, you are in trouble boy. Let us see what can I do for you. I laid down on stretcher and he brought something close to my eye and I heard a click. He shouted that Boy’s eye has been saved. He in fact used a magnet to drag the rust spot out from my eye. He was so generous that he even did not take any fees.

 

I also remember 1945 and my voyage in Scindia’s Haj Line ship “Englistan. When ship arrived Jeddah and ship’s crew list was handed over to port authorities, by the grace of God, wonders of wonders, the Saudi Government Port Authority somehow observed that I was the only Muslim on board. I remember being called by Master with whom a representative of King Abdul Aziz Ibne Saud was sitting. I was informed that I was invited by authorities to perform Haj as guest of kindom and on completion of Haj-Rites I must present myself at Monarch’s baithuk I thank God that in the enclosure of holly Ka’aba I was present to witness Ibne Saud together with emissaries of other Muslim countries to change the ghillaf-e-Ka’aba, perform the ghussul of Ka’aba. I was able to enter the holly Qa’aba and to say my prayers inside, in all four directions

 

 

QUESTION:

Sir, what inspired you quit sailing?

 

ANSWER:

I remember my friend Dhyan Singh Mungat trudging from ship to ship in Alexandra, Victoria and Prince docks of Bombay port trying to persuade ship’s officers to join the union, IMNOA (Indian Merchant Navy Officers Association.. During my sailing I had become member of IMNOA. On my return from London with Master (FG) certificate I went to Hyderabad and after vacation I returned to Bombay and took the post of organizing secretary of IMNOA. We changed the name of IMNOA to MUI (Maritime Union of India). I suggested to Mungat that MUI should present to government of India a proposal for setting up a nautical School and on Oct 21, 1947 in Maritime Union Nautical School commenced classes for 2nd mate and 1st mat exams. We worked hard and Govt of India realized that a Nautical and Engineering College must be set up, and the College was set up in Azad Meidan. We were greatly involved in making the success of our college.

 

I applied for sponsor ship to do my extra master mariner certificate, instead another marine engineer was selected. I decided to resign in protest

 

Had to join sea once again to earn some money and to do extra Master on my own. My dear wife stood by me and supported me. I do not hesitate to state that the extra master mariner adventure was very much a joint venture which my dear wife Zarina and I took on as a challenge. On 10th Nov 1952, I passed extra master part one exam. I continued for extra master part two.

 

On 24th July 1953, I passed my examination of extra master part two. I coincidently met Mr. Ismail of Pan Islamic Steam Ship Company in England who told me that company was negotiating the purchase of passenger ship to be delivered at Geneva. I was appointed Master of SS Sfina Nusrat and I sailed to Karachi. During the years 1953-1956 I was at sea as Master of SS Safina-e-Nusrat. I read an advertisement for the post of Harbor Master and Deputy Conservator for the post of Chittagong. I applied for the job and was selected by Federal Public Service Commission after that I permanently settled at ashore.

 

QUESTION:

Behind every successful man there is a hand of woman. Your wife is a dedicated educationist. Can you kindly describe how you both got married and good memories of your marriage life?

 

ANSWER:

It was my good fortune that my dear friend Maniben Kara took me to a beautiful home “Rockdale” perched high on Arabian Sea water front on Wednesday 2nd February 1948.

I saw a pretty girl in dark blue gharara, singing merrily to the song bird koel. By grace of Allah, some time later she agreed to marry me. I spoke to Amman (my mother) who agreed that Maniben Kara would go with me to Rockdale and make a formal proposal to dear Zareena’s sister Gohar. Professor Moulvi (later Principal of D.J Science College Karachi) kindly agreed and on October 30, 1948 we got married. Thanks God, we have enjoyed very happy life. We have four lovely daughters all of them married and enjoying their family lives.

 

Zareena was having ambition of starting school for children and when were in Chittagong she got this opportunity. She started her RIVER-SIDE School and it became very popular and there was ever increasing demand. Zareena a dedicated educationist and one who was convinced of importance of education of early years of childhood inaugurated her second school HILL-SIDE school. These schools are still functioning jointly as HILLSIDE Schools and providing efficient education to the children of Chittagong.

 

 

QUESTION:

You have worked as Marine Superintendent and Commercial Manager of National Shipping Corporation from 1963 up to 1969. Any memories of your service with NSC?

 

ANSWER:

We purchased few ships for National Shipping Corporation on NSF (Norwegian Sale Form). The important formalities of this sale form are study of log abstracts of all voyages ship has so far performed and also physical inspection of the ship in dry dock which included inspection of tail shafts. Our Financial Controller used to call tail shaft.

 

As DUMCHI of ship

Mrs. Zareena Said gave comments regarding his service with NSC that there was work, hardwork and extra hardwork. People used to work around clock to promote national shipping company. Admiral Rashee Mr. Osaf Mr. Soli Sethna and my husband Capt. M.J. Sayeed used to work very often for eighteen hours a day. One night when he came back from office he was so tired and exhausted that he could not take shower properly but next morning he was again in office. On evening son of Admiral Rasheed (Managing Director of NSC) was sick and his wife was calling him and kept on promising but it was midnight when he could rush to see his son.

 

Capt. Sayeed Said, within four years and three months NSC fleet included 31 owned ships and sixty ships on voyage charter for bulk trade, indeed NSC shares stood at 490% PLUS at Karachi Stock Exchange.

 

QUESTION:

Sir, would you like to highlight your joining as Managing Director of Neptune Orient Line, Any memories during your stay in Singapore and what lesson we can learn from the exemplary development of Singapore?

 

ANSWER:

I remember in April 1969 Singapore government becoming aware of growth of NSC asked for an individual from NSC to go to Singapore and present a feasibility study of setting a shipping company. I remember writing the feasibility under the beautiful spread of tall trees sitting on a bench in Singapore’s Botanical Guardens. My feasibility report was accepted and I was also appointed Managing Director of the new shipping company. NOL chapter has all details what followed during years 1969 through 1973 report. I handed over NOL responsibilities to young generation and I was selected by UNCTD/IMCO as Shipping Expert for Arab Transport Maritime Academy Alexandria. I worked there until 1976. Capt. Zakaullah was also working with Arab Maritime Academy. It was a call from Mr. Monroe of John J.McMullen, maritime consultant of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company in response to my application for a position General Manager/Advisor for the newly formed company. I worked with ADNOC upto December 1981. May 1976 through December 1981 by the grace of God net prophet after providing for depreciation was US$ 82 million. Mr. Y.C. Chang had built Pacific Shipping Line. PIL ships call frequently Karachi. I have completed already 18 years as PIL Representative in Karachi.

 

Mrs. Zareena highlighted, we had wonderful stay in Singapore. We used to live in big bungalow house. But it is not the buildings it is people we remember. The people are very friendly and caring. I remember that we were flying towards Japan for delivery of new ship. We stopped over Hong Kong. There was heavy rain in Hong Kong. Mr. Lee Kuan Yew (Prime Minister of Singapore) asked his staff to bring quickly umbrella for Capt. Sayeed and said that our shipping man must not get wet. We were invited to a big dinner party. The hosts were knowing that we are Muslims. No poke and no liquor was served on our table.

 

It is merit and education behind the development of Singapore. In Singapore they have stressed on education. Primary education is compulsory in Singapore. We had a gardener. His son used to go to same school where ours used to go. There was no fees. To join junior college there is very tough competition. Our second daughter acquired very high marks and she was fortunate to be selected for admission in junior college. There was only merit no matter candidate student belongs to whom it. That year son of Prime Minister Mr. Goh Chog Tong was not selected in junior college because did not get good grade in examination. It was entirely education. With the education, improved by leaps and bounds in information technology, look at the use of computers, there were computers used. Sayeed and I are among fortunate ones who were educated. But what about other millions in our country who have talent but no opportunity for them to get education.

 

 

QUESTION:

Continuing your stay in Singapore, when you went to Singapore, in fact our country exported shipping expertise but now a days we are importing this expertise from other countries?

 

ANSWER:

I will stick to only shipping, Answering your question, we have to go back long way because our policy makers themselves did not have foresight. Foresight is not good enough. The correct word I should use is VISION. I strongly emphasize on vision what you should aim for. Again as my grand daughter says “NO BIG DEAL NANA”. We should consider our moral responsibilities as a human being. We are on this earth as human being and we are getting so many benefits. It is our moral responsibility to consciously escalate our knowledge as a continuous process. That is what we are supposed to do. First word of our holy Quran is IQRA and our prophet advised us 1423 years age to achieve knowledge even though we have to go to China. Why our leaders did not take interest in promotion of literacy in our country. Because our leaders were scared that enlightened public opinion will not tolerate them to waste public funds building palaces, unnecessarily traveling abroad and other mischief’s.

 

When people witness their leaders, elected representatives, judges, bearcats as modest, honest, educated and hard working citizens, they will give whole hearted support as a matter of common sense.

 

QUESTION:

Sir, would you like to give any message for readers of MARINER?

 

ANSWER:

Like any other profession we must continue to escalate and improve to best as we can do. It is possible for individual to that in spite of restrictions and draw backs we are talking about Singapore, everybody there is accountable. I mean as I repeat that I am admirer or China and Mao Ze Tung. In China those leaders were not different from other Chinese people even in dress and rigs. In fact there were occasions you could not differentiate be tween leaders and commoners. It is not difficult for us to do that because in fact Islam preaches for it. It is not only a religion! No Sir, Islam is much more than that. It is way of life. For every individual it is not that how he behaves to God or how behaves to his family our religion emphasizes how to behave in the society and how to behave to mankind. There is no geographical limitation if for individual regarding his liabilities to the society. They geographical boarders are not created by the God to differentiate between humankind values. These are man made and in fact whole world belongs to every human.

 

In the end I would like to say that Seafaring is a wonderful profession but you have to be fully absorbed in it. It is considered as your duty, cultural obligation that in seafaring you must continue to accelerate and to continue despite of all the drawbacks.

 

 

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MMSP ELECTION - 2015

Dear Members
kindly note that submission of Nomination form has been extended till 9 May 2015, due to annual dinner event. Ensure that the Nomination form should reach MMSP office on or 9 May 2015.

Regards
Capt. Khawaja Wasiuddin Siddiqi Dupty Election Commissioner

MMSP IS HOLDING ITS ANNUAL DINNER- 2015

To honour
Chief Patron of MMSP and Chief of Naval Staff Who has kindly consented to be the Chief Guest on this Occasion at Convention Hall, Pakistan Maritime Museum Near Karsaz, Karachi,
on Friday, the 24 April 2015

at 2000 hrs

All members and Mariners are requested to collect their cards from MMSP Secretariat.
Ph 32418784
cell 0333-3113265
E-mail: mmsp@super.net.pk 
web: www.mmsp.com.pk
or call Capt. Nusrat Iqbal (GS-MMSP) Cell: 0300-8245399
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PAKISTAN MARINE ACADEMY IN DOLDRUM

If, we go into time Tunnel, the era from 2003-2007, efforts were made to convert Pakistan Marine Academy to Pakistan Maritime University, so that different faculties of Maritime education may be established locally.

 

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Monthly Meeting :

 

May 14, 2015

Executive Committee Meeting of Master Mariner Society of Pakistan will be held at 17.30 Hrs. at Room No 18, Old Ralli Brothers Building, Talpur Road, Karachi.

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