20 May 2005

South African Navy names first female commander

The South African Navy has appointed the first woman to command at sea, it said on Thursday.

Sub-Lieutenant Latha Starling was to be appointed officer commanding the inshore patrol vessel SAS Tekwane, based in Durban, in a change of command ceremony on Friday, said the navy.

Starling joined the navy in 1997, going on to complete two years at the military academy in Saldanha.

She completed her combat officer's qualifying part 1 course in 2000, then spent time at sea in the mine counter-measures vessel, SAS Umzimkulu, and the combat support vessel, SAS Drakensberg.

She has also completed an astro-navigation course, a bridge watch-keeping qualification and inshore patrol vessel training.

Last year, Starling was first lieutenant on the inshore patrol vessels SAS Tern and SAS Tekwane.



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