Former Australian Navy’s heavy lift ship HMAS Tobruk will be scuttled off the coast between Bundaberg and Hervey Bay as a dive wreck, Australian minister for defence personnel announced.
Tobruk had provided 34 years of service to Australia, sailing more than 947,000 nautical miles. It will continue its life with a different purposes – that of a tourist destination.
“She will be fondly remembered by all those who served in Tobruk and those who have been supported by the many operational and humanitarian deployments she undertook,” Dan Tehan said.
Assistant minister for trade, tourism and investment Keith Pitt said the hard-fought battle for more than three years had finally paid off.
“Christmas has come early for the Wide-Bay Burnett region. This dive wreck will not only bring domestic and international visitors to the region, it will bring much needed long term, sustainable jobs and a future for the next generation,” he said.
“That has always been the driver behind this campaign: more jobs for this region, with an economic boost of $4 million per year.
“This dive wreck will no doubt become one of the country’s premier diving sites, potentially attracting thousands of divers each year,” Pitt said.
Tobruk was a multi-purpose, roll-on/roll-off heavy lift ship capable of transporting soldiers, armored personnel carriers and tanks, delivering them to shore via landing craft or directly by beaching.
Tobruk was deployed on 26 major operations, including the Sinai Peninsula, Fiji, Solomon Islands, Bougainville, the Middle East, East Timor and the Philippines. She was awarded Battle Honours for her East Timor service in 1999.