Deputy Harbourmaster on deck

13 Dec 2016, 9:04 AM

Northland’s new Deputy Harbourmaster – whose resume includes a stint in command of what was the world’s largest mega-yacht – is on deck and training to pilot cruise ships into the Bay of Islands.

Captain Tony Browne joined the Northland Regional Council recently and replaces former Deputy Harbourmaster Chidambaram ‘CD’ Surendran, who left the council earlier this year to return to India.

Northland born and bred Mr Browne, 52, splits his time in his new role between the council’s Opua and Whangarei offices and says the part of his new job he’s most looking forward to – and currently training for – is piloting cruise ships into the Bay of Islands.

Fifty-two of the giant vessels are scheduled to visit the Bay in the current cruise ship season; which runs from September to July.

A Kerikeri resident, Mr Browne began his seafaring career 35 years ago, initially with New Zealand shipping companies on world-wide routes and studying in Auckland to attain his Master Certificate.

He then spent more than 15 years as captain of mega-yachts, culminating in command of what was the world’s largest yacht of the time, the 162 metre ‘DUBAI’.

“More recently I have been a maritime safety surveyor and inspector for both the Australian and New Zealand maritime administrations.”

His love of the sea extends to his personal life and he has just returned from voyaging around New Caledonia with his family.  He also spends as much time as he can over summer cruising in the Bay of Islands.