History of Mr. Ahmed Moloobhoy

History of Ahmed Moloobhoy

Hello 😊
Welcome to my blog #2

With the intent to chronicle for posterity, I continue briefly with the history of my grandfather Ahmed Moloobhoy and the firms set up by him.

He was married to Mariambai and had three sons - Mohamed, Sultan & Shareef (my father; the youngest) and three daughters  - Sakina, Zarina & Amina.

Traditionally, only the male family members were included in the active family business. 

The ship breaking and metal scrap trading business of A S Moloobhoy & Sons was set up initially around 1890. 

The activity was centered around dismantling old bridges and old Mills  (including Atlas Mill, not very far from the location of the office) and various merchant (passenger and cargo) ships, when put out of service and "sent to the graveyard".

Ahmed Moloobhoy passed away some months after I was born in 1955.

In 1972 the Indian Mercantile Marine Training Ship, (I. M. M. T. S.) Dufferin, as she was then known was scrapped. 

Originally built in 1904, she served as a troopship for the Royal Indian Marine (R.I.M.) until 1925. She was named after The Marquess of Dufferin, Viceroy and Governor General of India, 1884-88.

Very significant local maritime history is centred around this illustrious steamship.

Sir P.S. Sivaswami Aiyar on January 12, 1922, moved a resolution in the reformed Indian Legislative Council to set up a committee to establish an Indian Merchant Marine. He mooted a nautical college be established to train Indian deck and engineer officers and then apprenticed on Government-supported ships. 

When no progress was made for 4 years on his suggestion, he moved another resolution on the subject on March 19, 1926, urging the establishment of training facilities for marine officers in Bombay. The ultimate result  of his deliberations was the commissioning of the Training Ship Dufferin in December 1927. 

The Dufferin remained a training ship for over 40 years and the Alumni included 12 Admirals who served the Indian Navy, 2 Chiefs of Naval Staff, and 2 Nautical Advisors to the Government of India. 

The firm also bought The Shipping Corporation of India Ltd passenger ship S S State of Madras for scrapping. Vessel demolition was conducted at the ship beaching and breaking yard in Darukhana, close to where our company yard, back office and stores is  located, in the Mazagon area. The registered office of the company is still located at this address after 125 years. Very near the ship building facility of The Mazagon Dock Ltd. originally set up in the 18th century. 

Quite frankly, though the business was lucrative, ship breaking held little fascination for me and after the limited role I played in the breaking of the last vessel S S State of Madras, I dissuaded my father from bidding for any more vessels for scrapping. It was a dirty business in my perception 😒 in all respects, with deficient safety standards.

So no ship breaking after the mid 1970s.

Also with general metal scrap trading ☺ I'm your fall guy 🤗

The ship breaking activity itself had since shifted predominantly to the port of Alang in Gujarat because of the high tidal draft variation.

Blog #3 deals with general ship chandling activity  set up in 1910 in the name and style of Ahmed S Moloobhoy & Sons 

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