Dallas financier Harold C. Simmons, who is attempting to gain control of the giant container ship company, was quoted as saying in an interview that he has asked Sea-Land Chairman and Chief Executive Joseph F. Abely to quit. Simmons was quoted as saying he wrote recently to Abely telling him it was in the best interests of the company if he stepped down. When Abely failed to respond, Simmons said he telephoned him to repeat his request. "Mr. Abely said no, that this was a decision for the board of directors. I said no, I think this is something you should decide for yourself," Simmons said. Simmons controls 39.5% of Sea-Land's stock, and the company has agreed to nominate three of his representatives for election to the board of directors.