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Thursday, 17 April 2014

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Cumbrian sailor’s £1 billion motor!

A FORMER county rugby player is driving one of the world’s most advanced warships through the challenging waters ‘east of Suez’.

Rob Couzens, originally from Aglionby, near Carlisle, is the senior bridge watch-keeper on board Royal Navy warship HMS Diamond, one of the UK’s new Type 45 air-defence destroyers.

Costing about £1 billion, it boasts some of the most advanced technology to be used by any navy.

Diamond’s powerful radars detect incoming aircraft and missiles and direct supersonic Viper missiles to their targets.

Rob, 28, set sail on board the ship when she set out on her first deployment on June 30. She is working in partnership with other friendly navies to protect shipping and provide security in Middle Eastern waters.

The ship does however enjoy the best living conditions the Navy has ever had at sea. Satellite TV, email and internet are all available and sailors can phone home regularly even when they are mid-ocean.

Known for his love of all things Eddie Stobart Rob admitted he is looking forward to getting home to see his parents Michael and Ruth, who still live in Aglionby, and his girlfriend Alexia.

He said: “We are doing an important job, protecting people who can’t protect themselves, but it’s a long time to be away.”

Rob first started thinking about joining the Navy while at Austin Friars St Monica’s School, and went on to study History and Geography at Liverpool University.

There he joined the Royal Naval University Unit, as a cadet officer on HMS Charger.

After graduating, he signed up and joined Britannia Royal Naval College in 2006.

From there, he went on to complete further training on board HMS Walney, before serving on HMS Severn – patrolling British waters to enforce UK and EU fishing laws – and then patrolling the Falkland Islands on board HMS Clyde.

Rob’s current six-month deployment with HMS Diamond will see the crew carrying out counter-piracy and anti-smuggling operations. His job includes the driving of the 30 knot, 8,000 ton destroyer.

Rob said: “I’d recommend the life to anyone who wants a bit of adventure to make a difference while they’re about it.

“It’s not always easy but when I get back, it’s my stories everyone wants to hear; I’ve walked with penguins in the South Atlantic and camels on the Arabian peninsula.”

eparsons@cngroup.co.uk

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