FOUR months after Parks Victoria warned divers about visiting the ex-HMAS Canberra dive site, the scuttled ship is now closed.
In a temporary measure by Parks Victoria, the ex-HMAS Canberra has been closed as a dive site due to safety concerns.
In a story first released by the Ocean Grove Voice on February 23, 2011, it was reported Parks Victoria had released a statement warning divers about the danger of visiting the site due to the helicopter hanger coming apart from the main structure.
An updated statement released by Parks Victoria on its website dated July 4, 2011, said that from a recent assessment of the Canberra there was “significant movement of heavy metal plates, leaving sharp edges and obstruction of access points”.
“A further structural assessment has confirmed the helicopter hanger on the port side of the ship has now come loose requiring a temporary closure of access to the site in the interest of public safety.”
Parks Victoria’s manger of marine operations Vin Wright said the site was expected to break up over time.
The ex-HMAS Canberra was scuttled as a wreck and the progressive breakup of the vessel was expected,” he said.
He said Parks Victoria would be working with tour operators to minimise the impact on businesses and further assessment was needed before it could reopen the site to divers.
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“We will be working closely with licensed dive tour operators, stakeholders and other interested parties throughout the site’s closure and will explore all options for getting divers back on the dive site,” he said.
“We need to ensure the site is monitored and appropriate action is taken in the interests of public safety, we will know the extent of these actions in coming weeks.”
Oz Dive Boat Charters owner Tom Wende said the closure would affect all dive charters on the coast.
“It’s going to affect everyone’s business, he said.
Tom said he visited the wreck just one week ago and said the deterioration on the port side was apparent.
“The whole side is blown out where the hanger is,” he said.
Oz Dive Boat Charters visits other wrecks off the Victoria coast that date back to 100 years old and Tom said he was disappointed that the Canberra has come apart so soon after it was scuttled.
“It’s a pity that it hasn’t lasted more than two years,” he said.
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