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By: Captain Amir Saife



What memories do you have of your school & college life?



I graduated with my Matriculation of British standard from Bombay in 1948 which was the last year for such a graduation in India. Later it was titled Secondary School Certificate (SSC). During my studies I learnt Persian and Arabic languages privately to the extent of developing a poetic aptitude in understanding Persian. I continued my language studies in my college life also. I remember having translated a well known Persian dua of Shaikh Saadi (r.a) into an Urdu poetic dua and some Persian couplets into Urdu. My poem on ‘Thanksgiving to Allah’ has been printed on the 2nd page of my Biography (published in the Mariner’s latest issue). My pen name is Naaz.



Are there any remarkable achievements from your college life?



Yes, I remember having joined the National Cadet Corps for receiving Military Training at Bombay, as an extra curricular activity, from 1948 to 1950 during my full time study of Inter. Science. I was promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal and was awarded a Cert. of training.



Can you highlight any significant experience at sea before or after passing your Master’s Cert. of competency?



I remember an adventurous sea voyage during my command of SS Maqbool Baksh when I was asked to tow 2 long barges (Length of tow being more than 600 ft) from Karachi to Chittagong. Although the ship was old and not fitted with towing gear for such a long distance, I took it as a challenge. As the stern bollards were weak to fasten the towing wire I sought advice from Capt. A Jabbar Ranndev, an old colleague of mine who was working in the capacity of “Principal Officer”, Karachi port. We sat together and thought of various ways but Capt A Jabbar came up with the idea of fastening the towing wire round the POOP, bypassing the Bollards altogether. This proved to be successful. The two barges were fastened to each other by combining the small length of an anchor chain with the towing wire in between the two while the fore-end of the first barge was fastened to the ship’s stern so as to avoid an impact/collision if the ship has to slow down at sea.


The ship was loaded with light cargo and the propeller was fully submerged to get maximum speed through water. I had forewarned the owner for the consumption of oil, water and provision as we had to proceed with manageable half or slow speed, but the owners were too calculative as towing with a hired tug would have cost more than twice/thrice the amount spent. Anyway, the voyage began with slow speed. I had to navigate with extra care and caution for which I had arranged additional poop watches change every 2 hours to monitor the 2 barges towed. I had a large Kerosene light fitted on the raised fore part of the first tow for monitoring in dark nights. The bridge duty officers were also ordered to keep an all round lookout. Alhamdulillah, I had a good team of skilled and willing crew.


We bunkered on the way at Colombo port where I had to stop before the entrance and gather the two barges one on either side, with the hard work and compliance of the officers and crew. I had promised them to get the owners agree for 1 month’s bonus to each member of the crew after safe arrival at Chittagong.


Unfortunately, the last tow parted due to heavy swell when we were half way up in Bay of Bengal. Luckily it was at dawn when the look out at the poop cried loud and alerted me by walkie talkie. I stopped the vessel instantly, doubled the look out at the poop and lowered the motor life boat. Eventually, we collected the parted barge and refastened the tow with new towing wire. This operation took nearly ¾ of the day.


Finally, we arrived safely at Chittagong port and handed over the barges to the agent. I sent a Telex to the owners informing the safe delivery of barges and recommended 1 month’s bonus for all crew members but it was not approved with remarks that it was our obligatory duty. Then I prepared and faxed a long detailed “Voyage Report” with relevant log entries and extra duty performed by all crew members in deep seas which is not included in normal duties at sea. I strongly insisted on my genuine recommendation and invited the owner to visit the ship for quick settlement. Finally the owners realized and all of us received the bonus before sailing on the next voyage.



Can you relate some momentous incidences during the time of the fall of Dacca in Dec. 1971 in war against India, when you were the Chief Officer of the Pakistan Marine Academy?



As far as I remember about a year before the Pak.-India war broke out, we had heard rumors in Jan 1971 that East Pakistan will be separated from West Pakistan and become an independent state. A number of East Pakistani students fled the Academy without permission and the rest disappeared by mid Feb 1971. The (late) Commodore S M Anwar, then commandant of the Academy, called a meeting of all staff and gave a choice to all East Pakistani staff either to live together for ever or leave the Academy immediately to which all E Pakistani staff opted to live with West Pakistani staff and defend the Academy till end. This strategy worked well. The next step was to gather all the women and children under one roof in a big hall while the male members were gathered together in a separate Hall for extra safety. As there was a fear of attack on the Academy, all the men were required to follow a roster by which every one had to do a 2-hourly look out duty from the top of the Academy roof. The meals for all were cooked in one kitchen and we all lived like one big family.


In March 1971, I availed the opportunity and having informed the late Comdt., transferred all West Pakistani women and children via a motor lifeboat on one of the Safina Passenger ships which  was about to sail for Karachi. The late Comdt. appreciated my initiative as media alerts and rumors became stronger day by the day. We all, the West Pak. staff had booked our air tickets to Karachi in advance for the last moment flight departures. Probably, it was end of May when the late. Comdt. handed over the charge to the senior most East Pakistani staff and all of us left for Karachi on vacation for 1 month but the Academy was not reopened in July for imminent fear of war threat any moment.


The war broke out on 3rd Dec. 1971; thus we were all under the blessed protection of Allah swt.


“Shukr tera ho ada keonker ay Rabbul Aalameen,

                 Terey Rahmat ki kaheen bhi inteha payee naheen”



What do you remember from the time of the re-establishment of Pak. Marine Academy in Karachi?



While waiting at Karachi after the vacation, I was asked by the late Comdt. to visit the new site of Academy at Mauripur and suggest an appropriate location for constructing a Life Boat Jetty for training activities. I surveyed the area in daylight at low water, Spring tide (New Moon) and observed that water recedes quite a distance from the main land, approximately 400 to 500 feet, a rough guess, in a direction perpendicular to the flow of tide. I chose the direction perpendicular to the tidal flow because the life boat at the jetty head can lay aligned with the tide flow at all times. I reported my observations and suggestion to the late Comdt. but he did not agree on such a long jetty. So I suggested that he may accompany me on the next Spring tide and observe for himself, to which he gladly agreed.


The next spring tide (Full Moon) was 2 weeks later. It was around mid day. We reached the area half an hour earlier when the water was still receding away from us. I, dressed in Tee shirt and gum boots, waded through the mud along with a CPO (Chief Petty Officer), nearly 300 steps in perpendicular direction to the flow of tide. Our feet sinking deep in the muddy water, we could see the water surface clearing about 100 feet ahead of us. So I decided to return as no further survey was needed. We returned to the Comdt. who was eagerly waiting for us and suggested that the correct estimated length of the Jetty should be 600 feet.The late Comdt. Nodded, looking surprised. Later, on reaching home I submitted the drawing of the jetty to the late commandant for further necessary action.



Can you highlight your experience as a Founder Member of MMSP?



t was in 1975-1976, if I can recall correctly, that I used to meet Capt. Mumtaz Usman and Capt. Nazeer Siddiqui                frequently to discuss the future of Pakistani Master Mariners and Pakistan Merchant Navy. There was one Chief Engineer also whose name I cannot recall. We had, unanimously, agreed to form a Master Mariners’ Society and/or a Merchant Navy Officers’ union on similar basis of that in UK.


We approached all Pakistani Steam Ship companies at Karachi and also the Maritime Govt. organisations one by one and informed them of our intention to get favourable  guidance but none of them appreciated. On the contrary, they passed adverse remarks that our ‘aim’ is just like a bubble in a hot kettle. It was very disheartening but we patiently pursued our intention.


Eventually more Master Mariners joined us without any office/platform and we kept on, getting legal advices until end of 1977 when a ray of hope shone and encouraged us as we approached through the dark cloud to its silver lining.


As I was good at drawing I designed the logo of MMSP to be used on all official documents whenever our dream came true. Eventually MMSP was established in 1978 and officially started functioning in Raleigh Bros. Building in the same place where it exists now. The same logo is being used in all official documents and also on Mariner magazine. Thanks to Allah swt for achieving our cherished goal.


“ Mushkilon ka saamna jab bhi hua hai Ay Khuda

                  Daamane Rahmat tera is haath se choota naheen”



What are you currently doing in Singapore?



Presently I am developing a Nautical Learning Solution (NLS) comprising user friendly software in the numerical problem areas of the module “Ship Stability” for DNS 3 / CoC class 4 and class 3 students of International Maritime Institutes. I have hired the software development expertise of “Intuitive Science Technologies” based in Singapore for developing the desired software under my supervision.


This software is intended to upgrade the Class 4 and Class 3 CoC courses by providing an independent user friendly learning aid to the students in their revision and preparation for exams/class room tests etc.  Notes (Definitions), Worked Examples, Formulae, Units, Graphs, Diagrams and Hints (on calculator usage) are provided to the user as per exam oriented methodical approach.


The most important feature of this software is that it is able to generate numerous examples for exercise at the click of a button. In many cases, it is capable of generating a few thousand problems, at random, on each different type of question. Thus, it will also be useful for teachers/trainers in setting up new questions with confirmed answers for classroom tests and examinations.





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Current events



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.

Capt. Khawaja Wasiuddin Siddiqi Dupty Election Commissioner


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
or call Capt. Nusrat Iqbal (GS-MMSP) Cell: 0300-8245399
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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.


(Read More)

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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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