Australia. Former warship HMAS Brisbane attracts divers in droves

Wednesday, 08 August 2007

The former warship HMAS Brisbane is being heralded by scuba divers as one of the top wreck dives in Australia and is gaining an international reputation for its dive qualities, Environment Minister Lindy Nelson-Carr said today.

Ms Nelson-Carr said last week marked the 2nd anniversary of the sinking of the Ex-HMAS Brisbane navy ship in waters off the Sunshine Coast. "As at the 30th June 2007, over 10,700 divers from Australia and around the world have dived on the shipwreck, providing a significant boost to the local tourism industry and economy," Ms Nelson-Carr said. "Extra dive boat operations and spending by visiting divers on meals, accommodation, flights and local travel is conservatively estimated at more than $3 million."

Decommissioned by the Commonwealth in 2001 and received by the Queensland Government in 2003, the 133m ship has transformed from an iron hulk into a thriving sub-tropical marine ecosystem that underpins a growing dive tourism industry on the Sunshine Coast.

Ms Nelson-Carr said Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service managed the project and considerable efforts were made to prepare the ship for sinking and select the final scuttling location, to ensure that there were no impacts on sensitive marine habitats. "Following the sinking, a 35 hectare area incorporating the wreck was dedicated as the Ex-HMAS Brisbane Conservation Park to help ensure that the cultural values of the site are protected and managed into the future," Ms Nelson-Carr said. "The project has also boosted local marine biodiversity, with the wreck now covered in marine growth and a myriad of marine life. The site has also become a focus of attention for educational and research institutions. The University of the Sunshine Coast and the Queensland Museum have already undertaken a survey of marine flora and fauna colonisation of the wreck, with funding from the QPWS. The QPWS is encouraging further research, including a proposed socio-economic study of the benefits to the community from creation of the dive site."

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 08 August 2007 )