After 34 years of service, the ex-HMAS Tobruk has been brought to Bundaberg to prepare for her scuttling to her final resting place in the Wide Bay waters between Bundaberg and Hervey Bay.
Ex-HMAS Tobruk is currently moored at the Port of Bundaberg in readiness for the scuttling process to begin. It is likely to take up to two years before she is fully prepared, sunk and opened as a dive site for experienced divers visiting the Southern Great Barrier Reef.
Currently, the state government is finalising contractors to prepare the vessel. Strict permit conditions regulate the preparation of the ship, which is a consuming process.
The process includes:
* Removing all fuels, oils and greases
* Identifying and removing all hazardous materials, including polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCB's), asbestos, heavy metals, batteries, chemicals, plastics etc.
* Removing items that could break loose during the scuttling process or be a hazard to divers
* Preparing a safe and interesting dive site to suit different levels of expertise, including cutting diver access holes, removing items that could be a safety hazard (including cabling, non-structural partitions, hatches/doors) and sealing some areas to prevent access for safety reasons
* Designing the scuttling process to ensure the vessel would settle to the seabed with its structural integrity maintained, in an upright position in the correct location, depth and orientation
* Towing to the scuttling site, undertaking final on-site preparations, and scuttling the ship
* Post-scuttling activities, including retrieving debris, clearance dive, and repairing any damage from the scuttling process.
This process is estimated to cost between $6-7 million and is expected to take 2 years to complete.
History of the ex-HMAS Tobruk
The HMAS Tobruk L50 amphibious heavy lift ship saw thirty four years of service from 1980 to 2015 and was deployed on twenty six major expeditions such as the Middle East, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Bougainville, East Timor and the Philippines. The ship's namesake comes from the Siege of Tobruk which was battled through the Second World War, when German and Italian Forces laid siege to the north African port for 241 days.
Living up to her motto 'Faithful and Strong', HMAS Tobruk retired with about 2, 000, 000 kilometres journeyed (equivalent to 40 trips around the world) and countless lives helped.
About the ex-HMAS Tobruk
While the Tobruk can be compared in length to many destroyers, it is almost two times the width of other destroyers in her class and given the roll-on roll-off characteristics of the vessel it lends itself to being an ideal dive opportunity by providing a huge cavernous space to explore.
Ex-naval vessels are quickly inhibited with diverse marine life, offer a fascinating diving experiences, and are popular amongst the experience diving community.
HMAS Tobruk has had a highly decorated career and it is merely fitting she be given this prestigious honour so people can continue to learn about her expeditions for many decades to come.
Capable of transporting 3 helicopters, 18 leopard tanks, 40 armoured personnel carriers, up to 520 soldiers and 130 personnel, HMAS Tobruk has run emergency errands around the Pacific arena.
Class:Modified Sir Bedivere Class
Type: Landing Ship, Heavy (LSH)
Motto: Faithful and Strong
Home Port:Fleet Base East
Builder: Carrington Slipways Pty. Ltd.
Laid Down: 7 February 1979
Launched: 1 March 1980
Launched by:Lady Anna Cowan
Commissioned: 23 April 1981
Decommissioned: 31 July 2015
Dimensions & Displacement: Displacement 5800 ton
Length: 127 metres
Beam: 18 metres
Performance Speed: 17 knots
Complement: Crew 150
Embarked Forces: 520
Machinery 2 x 54 ton, 4,800bhp Mirrlees-Blackstone KDMR8 diesel engines
6 x 12.7mm Machine Guns
2 x Mini Typhoon Guns
Helicopters In support of Amphibious Operations (ranging from the Squirrel AS350-B to Chinook CH47)
Inherited Battle Honours KOREA 1951–53
Battle Honours EAST TIMOR 1999
HMAS Tobruk (II) ship badge
The amphibious heavy lift ship, HMAS Tobruk (II) was laid down at Carrington Slipways Pty Ltd at Tomago on the Hunter River, NSW, on 7 February 1979. She was launched on Saturday 1 March 1980 by Lady Anna Cowen, the wife of the then Governor-General of Australia Sir Zelman Cowen AK, GCMG, GCVO.She departed Tomago under her own power on 16 December 1980 and proceeded down the Hunter River for Newcastle. She was fitted-out and underwent harbour trials early in 1981.
Information sourced from: http://www.rdawidebayburnett.org.au/hmas-tobruk/