Officer with gravity takes over warship

Last updated 15:30 24/01/2013
Lieutenant Commander Phillip Rowe
TAKING OVER: Lieutenant Commander Phillip Rowe accepts the command of offshore patrol vessel, HMNZS Wellington.

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A navy officer with a unique and weighty CV has taken over command of offshore patrol vessel the HMNZS Wellington.

At one point of his career Englishman Lieutenant Commander Phillip Rowe was the Royal Navy's solitary and only ''Gravity Officer''.

The role saw him on HMS Scott, a survey vessel, surveying gravity in the Mediterranean, the Gulf of Oman, the Persian Gulf and the North Atlantic.

In a ceremony at Devonport in Auckland today, Rowe took command of the Wellington from Commander David McEwan.

''You have the ship,'' McEwan said, to which Rowe replied ''I have the ship''.

Rowe joined the Royal Navy in 1986, and mainly involved in survey and hydrographic work.

He served two seasons in the Antarctic region south of the Atlantic aboard the ice patrol ship HMS Endurance.

He retired from the Royal Navy in 2005 and joined the Royal New Zealand Navy the following year.

He commanded the dive ship HMNZS Manawanui, playing a key role in finding the sunken wreck of the Tongan ferry Princess Ashika which sank in August 2009 with the loss of 74 lives.

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