The HMAS Tobruk may be scuttled in the Great Sandy Strait in a few years.
The HMAS Tobruk may be scuttled in the Great Sandy Strait in a few years. LSIS James Whittle, Department of Defence

HMAS Tobruk may be scuttled for divers off Hervey Bay

THE Australian Defence Force's oldest ship, HMAS Tobruk, may be scuttled for divers in waters off Hervey Bay to create a marine tourist attraction for the Fraser Coast.

The Chronicle understands Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt is in negotiations to secure the vessel when it's expected to be de-commissioned in the near future.

The HMAS Tobruk is a heavy lift ship and is Mr Pitt's preferred asset.

However Tasmania and the Gold Coast have previously shown interest in securing it.

While talk has again ignited, it's likely to be several years before the ship could reach the bottom of the Sandy Strait.

Environmental and engineering studies need to be completed as well as funding secured, which is expected to be about $10 million.

In a boost to the campaign, Secretary to the Minister for Defence Darren Chester visited the region in November 2014 to scout the proposed site.

Mr Pitt has previously stated the region has been "crying out for a new tourist attraction" while whales were not migrating.

"Military dive wrecks in similar regions have been estimated to be worth about $5 million per year to the local economy, boosting trade for retail, hospitality and accommodation businesses," he said.

Fraser Coast Mayor Gerard O'Connell has publicly backed Mr Pitt's efforts.

He said he would prefer the boat to be easily accessible from land for swimmers and snorkelers.

"I'm happy to take advice on that," he said.

HMAS Tobruk

  • Cost $59 million to build
  • Commissioned in 1981
  • Held a Fall Out Boy concert on deck


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