Tobruk wreck to stay on side

The Observer - - NEWS - Katie Hall

EX-HMAS TOBRUK will re­main on her side, with the cost to right it deemed to be “as­tro­nom­i­cal”, and pos­ing a sig­nif­i­cant risk of dam­ag­ing the ship.

In­stead, the state govern­ment will spend $1 mil­lion to pro­mote the wreck as a world­class dive site.

The de­ci­sion comes af­ter a in­de­pen­dent re­port com­mis­sioned by the Queens­land Parks and Wildlife Ser­vice, and pre­pared by dive re­searcher Ter­rence Cum­mins was an­a­lysed by the govern­ment.

Mr Cum­mins un­der­took two sur­vey dives on Septem­ber 7, spend­ing one hour seven min­utes in the wa­ter.

Ms Enoch said by not right­ing the wreck, it would give dive op­er­a­tors and tourists ac­cess sooner rather than later.

“Ex­pe­ri­enced recre­ational divers, ves­sel sal­vage ex­perts, naval ar­chi­tects and marine en­gi­neers pro­vided Queens­land Parks and Wildlife Ser­vice with ex­pert ad­vice af­ter as­sess­ing the ship in its cur­rent po­si­tion,” Ms Enoch said.

“They pointed out a num­ber of se­ri­ous risks as­so­ci­ated with right­ing the ship, the main be­ing se­ri­ously dam­ag­ing the ship. On top of that, it could have been at least 12 months be­fore the ship could be used as a dive site.

“Prepa­ra­tion work on the Tobruk is ex­pected to take 40 work­ing days, weather de­pen­dent. The site will then open to divers soon af­ter, putting Wide Bay on the map as one of our state’s top tourism des­ti­na­tions.”

The govern­ment did not pro­vide com­ment on what the to­tal cost would have been to right the wreck, or whether the com­pany that scut­tled the ship had in­sur­ance.

The re­port said it was “ob­vi­ously dis­ap­point­ing to some that the ex-HMAS Tobruk did not set­tle on the sea floor as in­tended”.

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