Geelong Advertiser, 2 October 2009

Sunday sinking date for HMAS Canberra

Sunday sinking date for HMAS Canberra

Geelong Advertiser

The HMAS Canberra is expected to be sunk two nautical miles off Ocean Grove on Sunday.

Friday, 2 October 2009 — The Department of Defence made the decision to proceed yesterday after checking weekend weather conditions.

Defence assets and inventory management director general Ian Donoghue said he was "very pleased" that the ship would be scuttled this weekend.

The ex-naval frigate was scheduled to be sunk three weeks ago on September 12 but the event was postponed because of bad weather.

The ship will be towed by tug from the grain wharf in North Geelong tomorrow, weather permitting.

It will cross the Port Phillip Bay Rip at slack tide which is about 1.29pm, according to the HMAS Canberra website.

Navy personnel will create a 1000m exclusion zone around the ship and will enforce a 500m intruder-intercept zone.

Local dive operators have been busy taking bookings with the Dive Victoria Group, out of Queenscliff and Portsea, taking more than 80 people while another 100 were on the waiting list.

Moonraker based in Sorrento still had vacancies on its 22-seat charter.

Mr Donoghue, who will oversee the event, said the scuttling would take place at 9.15am on Sunday.

An orange smoke flare will be activated five-minutes before the scuttling, and another will be fired into the sky 60 seconds before detonation with an audible signal of 15 seconds.

Experts say the scuttling of the decommissioned navy frigate will take just four minutes, while the installation of high-tech explosives on the vessel's hull could take several hours.

Seventeen explosives will simultaneously rip through the HMAS Canberra.

Thousands of litres of water will flood into the vessel sending it to the ocean's depths within minutes.

Mr Donoghue will travel from Canberra for the event to hand the ship's ownership over to the Victorian Government. He said there will be legal processes that follow the event to certify the scuttling had happened and the area was safe.

Skilled clearance divers will ensure the wreck has been properly sunk and is in a completely safe condition.

Parks Victoria will install a mooring system in the future for commercial operators and private boats when the site is open for diving.

Geelong Advertiser Online

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