Tributes are pouring-in after the death of 33-year-old naval mariner, Gillian Marlouw-Hector who lost her life during the sea exercise at Saldanna Bay this week.
She was the first female navigator of a submarine in South Africa. The residents of the Nelson Mandela Bay metro including her former teachers and senior officials at the TS Lanterne sea cadets base, paid tribute during a wreath laying ceremony.
Lieutenant Gert Van Staden says, they are finding it hard to deal with her death.
“Gillian joined the navy base in 2003 as a cadet new entry, which is a begging stage for us. She spend six as new entry and went to sea man. In 2007 she reached another rank which is a petty officer. In 2008, she was discharged in matric. In 2009 I took her back whilst we accepted her to be accepted by the navy. In 2010 she was accepted by the navy. After that she studied very hard, she reached her dream by becoming first female on sub marine.”
Some South African Sea cadets based at Humewood in Gqeberha say they have drawn inspiration from the late submariner Marlouw-Hector particularly as a woman.
One of the sea cadets, a basic seaman, Zulfah Winvogel explains:
“I would definitely draw inspiration from her for being the first women in Africa, not in South Africa, to become a sub-marine, for sailing at time is not easy, but we are very proud of her achievements.”
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The victims of the tragedy are, 48-year-old Master Warrant Officer William Malesela Mathipa, who joined the Navy in 1997; 42-year-old Warrant Officer Class One Mokwapa Mojela, who had been a submariner for the past 16 years; and 32-year-old Lieutenant Commander Gillian Marlouw-Hector.
The Navy has also confirmed that four other submariners had been taken to hospital.
Rear Admiral Musawenkosi Nkomonde says that all safety precautions, including the wearing of life jackets and safety harnesses had been applied by all the navy personnel.
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Original Story by www.sabcnews.com