Australia to get a new artificial reef... or two
Australian defence minister announced Ex-HMAS ships Tobruk and Sydney will be offered to the states and territories in June for the creation of dive wrecks.
HMAS Tobruk was retired last year after 35 years of service, including many humanitarian missions. She was launched in 1980. During her 34-year operational history, Tobruk sailed over 947,000 nautical miles (1,754,000 km; 1,090,000 mi), and was deployed on 26 major operations. HMAS Sydney was laid down and launched in 1980. Sydney has been involved in Australian responses to the 1987 Fijian coups d'état and the Bougainville uprising. The frigate was deployed to the Persian Gulf on five occasions in support of United States operations during the Gulf War, War in Afghanistan, and the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and has completed two round-the-world voyages. She as decommissioned on 7 November 2015.
Lots of interest
Several entities have called for the ships to be scuttled as a dive wreck. Federal Member of Parliament Keith Pitt has spent several years campaigning for the scuttling of a warship in Hervey Bay as a tourist attraction, with Tobruk his preferred vessel. Another proposal has come from the community of St Helens on Tasmania's east coast who wants the ship to be scuttled at Skeleton Bay. The Whyalla City Council has also expressed interest in using either the HMAS Sydney or Tobruk as an artificial reef in the Spencer Gulf.
The cost of preparing the ships, which includes the removal of asbestos and other materials, will be roughly $10 million, with government funding required to get the project off the ground. It will likely take to to three years.
When a ship is decommissioned and sold for scrap it can get about $15 to $16 million. If we convert it into a dive wreck you could see a return of somewhere between $80-$100 million over 20 years.
Gordon’s Bay Scuba Diving club secretary John Rowe