Female commander takes over navy ship

MICHAEL FIELD
Last updated 14:20 16/11/2012
Sandra Walker
Sandra Walker

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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".

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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