Bidding adieu to Capt. Harry Subramaniam, an achiever par excellence

A multi-faceted personality, with an ever ready smile, Capt Harry Subramaniam has left this world to bring cheer, happiness and spread knowledge about the shipping industry in the realm of the Almighty.

A man of initiative, he was born in 1942 in Ootacamund, in the Nilgiri Hills of South India and educated in the Lawrence School, Lovedale, one of the best schools in India, which was run on military and British Public School lines (like Eton & Harrow). Due to his resourcefulness and ingenuity he was granted Extra Masters Certificate by the UK in 1970.

He had over 50 years’ experience in maritime training.

His illustrious career was dotted with several achievements.

He was the recipient of several awards.

In 2019, he was honoured at Maritime Destination’s “Honouring The Authors” event.

In 2014 he won the ‘Outstanding contribution & Yeoman Service to the Maritime Industry Award’ by FOSMA (Foreign Owners Representatives & Ship Managers Association).

In 2013 he won the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Maritime Education & Training Award’ by the Govt. of India on National Maritime Day, 5th April 2013.

Some of the earlier awards he had received were:

* ‘Man of the year Award’ in 2001 by Sailor Today magazine
* ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ in 2002 by Marine World magazine.
* ‘Literary Distinction Award’ by Marex Bulletin in 2006.
* ‘Lifetime Contribution to Maritime Training Award’ by Global Met in 2007.
* ‘Individual Innovation Award 2007’ by Sailor Today Magazine

An online shradhajali was offered to him by the Company of Master Mariners of India (CMMI), the Maritime Industry and his family on July 13, 2020.

Capt B.K.Jha, Master of CMMI welcoming the delegates to the online meeting for offering shradhanjali to the departed soul of the doyen of Maritime Industry, Capt Harry Subramaniam, stated that Capt. Subramaniam was, and will remain, a revered Guru to his innumerable students who are today providing valuable service to the maritime industry and occupy high positions in the industry.

Capt. M.P. Bhasin, General Secretary of CMMI, outlined the contribution of Capt Subramaniam to the maritime industry.

Capt. Hari Subramaniam (Son of Capt Harry), spoke about the sorrowful few days in a voice choking with emotion. He said the absence of his father meant a deafening silence. He thanked the wonderful support and tremendous help that he received from all quarters. He said he learnt more about his father’s larger-than-life figure only in last 10 days. “He was so much more than what we thought and knew about him,” he added.

The other members of his family – Capt V Viswanathan (Son-in law), Capt. Harihar Prasad (Nephew), Capt. V S Kartik (Nephew) and Capt. Harishankar Krishnamoorthy (Nephew) – all spoke about the influence that Capt. H. Subramaniam had in their life as a guide and guru.

Capt V Viswanathan Son-in law and his daughter Uma said Capt. Subramaniam will remain always a Guru and teacher for me to whom I will remain indebted forever.

Capt Harihar Prasad (Nephew), said he was my counsellor, guide and well-wisher. I will miss him terribly.

Ms. Meera his niece said he was “a wonderful human being, a person I have looked up to, a true Captain, a very principled and loving person, his life was an example, a gentle soul and a true legend. Proud to call him my uncle. You will always remain an integral part of our family.”

Capt. Arya Prasad said he was privileged to have been related to captain Subramaniam, to whom he owed his career. He was “a most professional man, who oozed infectious positivity, respected his elders and kept everyone happy. I have great admiration for him. He taught me the importance of humility. Truly great men are never born nor do they pass away, they only spend a few years on this planet so that people around can imbibe their greatness.”

Captain V S Karthik (Nephew) revealed that in addition to being a brilliant professional, Capt Subramaniam was very good with his hands. “He was a very proficient carpenter. He had a large collection of tools. I was lucky to be an assistant to him in many office projects. He taught me that before you can be a leader you must be an excellent assistant. He also taught me to perform when I was not being supervised.”

Harishankar and Laxmi, his nephews, stated that Capt Subramaniam was their motivator and the sole reason for joining the merchant navy.

Message of Mr. Amitabh Kumar, DG Shipping, was read out by Capt M.P. Bhasin. The message read: “words are not enough to pay tribute to great persons like Capt. Subramaniam. He was an icon, an educationist an author, and above all mentor par excellence for the shipping industry. His contribution as command of training ship Rajendra, command of training ship Chanakya and principal of LBS college advance Maritime training and research has shaped training infrastructure in India. He was positive and lively person with a great sense of humour and full of energy whenever we met.”

Dr Malini Shankar, Chairperson, NSB, Ex DG Shipping, stated, “We have lost Bhishma Pitamah of maritime learning. For him teaching was not a job or profession but a calling and for the fraternity this was a gift. His enthusiasm and connect with people will remain eternal and continue to inspire us in our quest for knowledge and for perfection. May his family and the maritime industry have the courage to bear the loss and also find the inspiration to carry forward his ideals and his love for teaching.”

Mr. M. P Pinto, (Ex DG Shipping) said, “said I met him in 1996. He was the principal of LBS college at the time. He was instrumental in building the big hostel for which we managed to get the grant. He taught me so much about Merchant Marine, which I would never have understood had it not been for the way he explained it to me. I can proudly say that I am also his student. I am truly humbled about how many people he has influenced during his life.”

The dozens of shipping industry veterans who paid tributes included Mr. Arun Sharma, Executive Chairman, Indian Register of Shipping; Mrs. A. Rewari; Capt. J.C. Anand; Capt. T.K. Joseph; Capt. P. S Barve; Capt. P. S. Vanchiswar; Capt. S.S. Naphade; Capt. M.M. Saggi; Capt. Ashok Mahapatra; Capt. K. P. Jayakumar; Nautical Advisor (I/C), DG Shipping; Capt. Homi Treasurywala (On behalf of Batch Mates).

A short film was webcasted by Capt. Homi Treasurywala and his of batch mates of T.S. Dufferin about Capt. H. Subramaniam’s childhood and his journey in shipping.

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