Female commander takes over navy ship

19:17, Nov 16 2012
Sandra Walker
Commander Sandra Walker at the change of command ceremony aboard HMNZS Endeavour.
Sandra Walker
Navy officials at the change of command ceremony.
Sandra Walker
Commander Sandra Walker and partner David.
Sandra Walker
Commander Sandra Walker is the first woman in command of a large navy ship.
Sandra Walker
Commander Sandra Walker is the first woman in command of a large navy ship.

For the first time a woman has taken command of one of the navy's large ships and did it with a piece of earthy humour.

Gisborne's Commander Sandra Walker took over the tanker HMNZS Endeavour at a ceremony today at Devonport, replacing Commander Keith Robb.

She told an audience, including Chief of Navy Rear Admiral Tony Parr and other top navy brass, she was delighted at having control of a large ship "as any girl knows size really does matter".

Sandra Walker
Sandra Walker

She is not the first woman to take over a ship - in June 2010 Lieutenant Alex Hansen was given the captaincy of the inshore patrol vessel HMNZS Pukaki.

Women were first enlisted into the navy in the seagoing career trades in the early 1990s and Commander Walker joined the navy soon afterward.

With a laden displacement of 12,300 tonnes, Endeavour is a purpose-built oil tanker that supplies fuel at sea to other ships.

It was built in Korea in 1988.

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