Ship Scuttling

The big day. Getting the ex HMAS Canberra FFG-02 to the bottom.

ex HMAS Canberra Scuttling Videos


Channel 7 News report on the scutting of the ex HMAS Canberra off Ocean Grove.
© 2009 Channel 7 News


Video of the tow and scuttling of the ex HMAS Canberra.
© 2009 NetBookings


Video of the scuttling taken from the dune coastline of Ocean Grove.
Video fimed and produced by Andrew Newton. © 2009 Andrew Newton


ex HMAS Canberra sinking from the air.
© 2009 ABC News


ex HMAS Canberra Sinking
© 2009 Dive Victoria Group


The sinking of the HMAS Canberra at Ocean Grove, Victoria, Australia
© Unknown


Video of the scuttling taken from out on the water.
Video fimed and produced by Chris Lewellan. © 2009 Chris Lewellan


Video of the ex HMAS Canberra Sinking 4th October 2009
© 2009 EcoManiac Productions


Ship sinking draws crowds
© 2009 ABC News

ex HMAS Canberra Scuttling Photos

The following photos were taken on Sunday, 4 October 2009 during the scuttling of the ex HMAS Canberra FFG-02. Note: Click on images to see larger versions.

ex HMAS Canberra goes Boom!
ex HMAS Canberra goes boom
at 1.57 pm on Sunday, 4 October 2009.
© Andrew Newton
ex HMAS Canberra half way down
ex HMAS Canberra half way down
© Andrew Newton
ex HMAS Canberra last farewell
ex HMAS Canberra last farewell
© Andrew Newton
ex HMAS Canberra is now an artificial reef!
ex HMAS Canberra is now an artificial reef!
© Andrew Newton

The Scuttling Process

Once the ex HMAS Canberra FFG-02 has been prepared as an artificial diving reef, there are still quite a few steps that need to happen to actually scuttle the ex warship.

The weather conditions play a big part in the process, as 3 days of low wind and low sea state will be required.

Tow Operations

The ex HMAS Canberra FFG-02 will be towed by tugs from Geelong Grain Wharf, out into Port Phillip Bay, crossing through the Port Phillip Bay Rip at the Heads at slack tide, and then on to the scuttling site.

Ship Mooring at Scuttling Site

ex HMAS Canberra Scuttling Moorings and Positioning
ex HMAS Canberra FFG-02 Scuttling Moorings and Positioning

Once at the scuttling site the ex HMAS Canberra FFG-02 will be attached via a mooring line to a clump mooring placed prior to tow operations.

A tug will pull the ship by the stern to check ship position (GPS) and orientation (compass) for scuttling. The mooring line length will be adjusted as necessary to enable the ship to be accurately positioned.

Scuttling Site Preparations

Final Ship Preparations

The main activities will include:

  1. Removal of the temporary panels installed over diver access holes to maintain watertight integrity for the tow.
  2. Removal or lowering of ladders/stairways as they are no longer required.
  3. Removal of equipment from vessel as they are no longer required.
  4. Maintaining the ship security (to prevent unauthorised access to the ship a formal exclusion zone will be established prior to the scuttling operation.

Placement and Connection of the Detonators

  1. All non essential personnel and equipment are removed from the ship.
  2. Detonators will be installed by the explosive contractor.
  3. Firing cables will be run by the explosive contractor to shot firing craft.
  4. All remaining equipment and personnel will be removed (ladders removed or stairs lowered when leaving) to shot firing craft.

Explosive Scuttling

ex HMAS Canberra Starboard Openings
ex HMAS Canberra FFG-02 Starboard Openings. Port side is similar.
Openings marked in red are those below the waterline
that the explosive charges will create.

What actually happens to scuttle the ship? Well in order to accurately and precisely sink the ship so that she ends up upright on the bottom, a lot of careful planning is done.

Some 17 or so large openings will be decided upon, all below the waterline. To actually sink the vessel on scuttling day, explosive cutting charges will be used to cut these openings. The water pressure will force the panels that are cut into the vessel. Then the water will flood through the ship and she will hopefully sink as planned.

There are no loud explosions or visually appealing pyrotechnics to actually get the job done. Of course, it has been known for contractors to place some explosive charges and pyrotechnic display on deck to put on a bit of a show.

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