Commanding Officer - HMNZS NGAPONA: 2012 - 2014
Lt Cdr Andrew Curlewis RNZNR
Whilst undertaking a Honours Degree in Energy Engineering at Napier University in Edinburgh, he was an active member of the Royal Naval Reserve(RNR) unit at HMS CLAVERHOUSE. A Seaman Officer, he was a qualified Officer of the Watch and Minor War Vessel Navigator. Upon leaving the Reserve he had completed his training as an Executive Officer for the River Class Mine Sweeper.
He completed a standard course of Junior Officer training at Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth and Royal Naval Engineering College Manadon, Plymouth. Sea training was achieved on HMS ARIADNE, HMS CUMBERLAND and HMS CHATHAM where he obtained his full engineering qualifications to Marine Engineering Surface Ship Qualification.
In May 1993 he was appointed Deputy Marine Engineer Officer (DMEO) onboard HMS COVENTRY and served through deployments to the Gulf and to the Mediterranean during the Bosnia -Yugoslavia conflict. Completing his Marine Engineering Officers Charge Qualification, he also reconciled his previous RNR Bridge OOW certificate before leaving in October 1995. His second appointment as DMEO was to HMS NORFOLK, where he joined the ship in refit and managed the ME department through the recovery and operational work up phases.
Moving ashore into the Procurement Executive in Abbey Wood, Bristol in December 1996, he was appointed as the Desk Officer within Director General Surface Ships Type 23 Project, responsible for the provision of support to units both in service and during build phase for the Machinery Control and Surveillance System and Main Electrical Power System for the Type 23 Frigate class. As the first line of support to the T23 Frigates, a strong customer focus allowed him to deliver new to service technologies across the 16 ships of the class.
In September 1998, he read a Masters Degree in Marine Electrical Engineering at University College London, completing projects on a Fast Sea Lift Pentamaran ship design and the integration of commercial technologies for use in military Integrated Platform Management Systems (IPMS).
On promotion to Lieutenant Commander in April 2000 he was the uniform representative within the Future Integrated Platform Management System cell within the Ship’s Support Agency, Bath; responsible for developing requirements for future IPMS and management of support to all of the RNs Machinery Control simulators based in Gosport, Portsmouth. This role included project management of the upgrade of 3 of the older simulators, involving training needs analysis, project tender and project management of the upgrade contracts. In the later half of this appointment, he was seconded to work with BAE Systems within the T45 Destroyer Prime Contracting Office(PCO). As one of only 3 uniformed personnel within the PCO, he provided the team with a customer reference and was able to ensure the needs of the service were considered throughout the early stages of design.
Appointed to HMS ALBION (Amphibious Assault Ship) as the Senior Engineer, he joined during the ship build phase in Barrow in Furness in December 2001. His principle charge appointment, he was responsible for the management of the introduction into the RN of the 1st All Electrical Propulsion System (AEPS) and fully Integrated Platform Management System. Managing the Marine Engineering Department, consisting of 70 Officers and Ratings, he successfully completed the 1st of Class sea trials and ship commissioning, culminating with operational deployments to the Arctic Circle and the Gulf of Mexico.
In July 04, he was selected onto the staff of Flag Officer Sea Training as a Staff Damage Control Officer. Within six months he was selected to lead the NBCD Department which consisted of 6 Officers and 20 Warrant Officers/senior Chief Petty Officers. In addition to his departmental management role, he was also the lead training DC Officer for some 26 ships, ranging from 7 different Navies from around the world. One of the highlights of the appointment was to lead a team which provided training to the South African Navy as they introduced their new Meko 2000 Frigates into service.
Seeking greater family stability and new challenges, he immigrated to New Zealand in September 2006 and joined the RNZN. As the Platform Systems Engineer within the Fleet Engineering Centre, he was responsible for managing all Marine Engineering minor Engineering Change projects. Within 9 months of joining he was able to introduce a number of significant projects to various ships, whilst rationalising the change process to make best use of the limited resources available. Following the Fleet Support Organisation re-organisation in Jul 07, his role as PSE evolved to provide a more customer focused systems engineering approach to fleet support. The new role encompassed 24/7 support to all fleet units as the OPDEF officer and provision of Marine Engineering expertise to MOET; most recently heading a team onboard HMNZS TE MANA during her workup prior to her current operational deployment to the Gulf.
On leaving the service to establish a engineering consultancy company, he retained his links with the Navy by becoming the Training HoD within NGAPONA.
Married to the ever patient Claire, together they are raising their three young children Connor (16), Adam (11) and Freya (9). Settled on the North Shore, he enjoys sailing with the RNZN Sailing Club, kayaking, tramping, cycling and entertaining his young family.