Navy lieutenant becomes first SA woman to steer submarine

A Cape Town navy officer has become South Africa's first woman to steer her own ship. Courtesy of #DSTV403

CAPE TOWN - A Cape Town navy officer has become the first South African woman to steer a submarine.

Gillian Malouw (28) said she feels happy to have accomplished this.

"I feel happy that I'm able to make this contribution to our submarine service and to the country."

Malouw is not just a lieutenant in the navy but also the first female officer in the country to navigate her own submarine.

READ: SAA all-female crew makes history

The navy's SAS Queen Modjadji is a unique vessel requiring specialised training to operate.

"It's far from driving a car. When you're sitting in a car, the person sitting at the steering wheel decides which part of the road you want to follow," Malouw explained.

"Here, it works in a system where you have someone sitting at a steering console and as the officer of the watch, I then give the orders to that person to execute that instruction.

"We don't have the luxury of being able to see exactly where we're going, there are no windows. We rely completely on each other on board."

There may not have been any windows on board but, Malouw certainly took the window of opportunity and steered her career in the right direction.