No captain at the helm
By NICHOLAS IONIDES
FOR the first time in 153 years, the Royal Navy is without an official captain-in-charge of HMS Tamar.
The post was vacated yesterday morning after a short but ceremonial sendoff for the last of the rank to serve in the territory - Captain Tom Sunter.
''It has been a lot of fun,'' the 47-year-old captain said as he received a caricature of himself and fellow officers as a departing gift.
The captain was caught off-guard shortly after 10 am when a group of his officers escorted him from his office at Stonecutters Island to a waiting rickshaw.
They carried him to the dock and, after watching a short lion dance, he received his caricature and jumped into a boat.
Escorted by four fast pursuit craft and a navy patrol vessel, the boat pulled away to caps raised in salute by his officers.
Captain Sunter was taken to the former navy basin at the Prince of Wales Barracks in Central, where he was to enjoy ''a few gin and tonics''.
He is to return to the United Kingdom next week, where he will enjoy a short break before taking up the post of Naval Base Commander in Rosyth, Scotland.
The man who immediately replaces Captain Sunter is Commander Berry Reeves, the current executive officer of HMS Tamar, who will hold the post for one year.