One of the most influential people in Indian seafarer training circles died early today from Covid-19.
Tributes have been paid all day to Captain Harry Subramaniam, whose eight books on seafaring served as a cornerstone in Indian maritime education for decades.
Subramaniam was born in 1942 in Ootacamund in the Nilagiri Hills of south India. He went to sea for much of the 1960s, before returning ashore determined to shake up the maritime education scene.
During Subramaniam’s early days as a lecturer at the L.B.S. Nautical College, his mother, Vijaya, saw his dismay as he had to refer to one book for instruments, another for coding and decoding weather reports, another for tropical meteorology and yet another for temperate latitude weather, all just to teach meteorology. One day, she asked him, “Why don’t you write a book of your own?” She took a loan from a bank to publish the first book, Practical Navigation and with that Vijaya Publications was born, with the ideology that everything can be made concisely available in a nutshell as the series of eight books became known.
Latterly Subramaniam also worked as a marine examinations adviser with the Marshall Islands Ship Registry.
Captain Rajesh Unni, the founder of Singapore ship manager Synergy Group, tweeted today how Subramaniam had left a legacy as a mentor to generations of seafarers.
Zarir Irani, managing director at Constellation Marine Surveyors, described Subramaniam on social media as a “guru, an inspiration, a humble human being, a legend with professionalism and integrity”.
On LinkedIn, Subramaniam’s son, Hari, who works for the Shipowners’ Club in Singapore, wrote: “Hope your new voyage to Heaven is as smooth a sailing as your devoted selflessness.”