Australian government offers a frigate and a landing ship as dive wrecks

The Australian Minister for Defence has announced that former HMA Ships Tobruk and Sydney will be offered to Australian states and territories for the creation of dive wrecks.

After decades of service in the Royal Australian Navy, Tobruk and Sydney were decommissioned in July 2015 and November 2015 respectively.

The 1981-commissioned multi-purpose, roll-on/roll-off heavy lift ship Tobruk was used extensively during regional peacekeeping and humanitarian operations as well as border protection in northern Australia.

Former Adelaide-class guided-missile frigate Sydney was deployed to the Persian Gulf on five occasions in support of operations during the Gulf War, war in Afghanistan and the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Closer to home, Sydney was involved to support Australia’s response to regional uprisings and humanitarian operations.

Based on the U.S. Navy Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate, Sydney was the third of four ships to be constructed in the United States of America and entered service with the Australian Navy in 1983.

The two ships have recently been relocated from the RAN base at Garden Island to make space for new ships in service with the Navy.

Tobruk and Sydney were moved to the eastern side of Garden Island, Western Australia, where they will be waiting for the final government decision on their disposal.

“There are significant challenges with preparing ex-Navy vessels for dive wrecks to assure the safety of recreational divers, however I appreciate the tourism and economic benefits that the creation of a dive wreck can have to local communities,” Minister Payne said.

The decommissioned vessels will be demilitarized by the Department of Defence. The preparation and funding of the vessels for use as a dive wreck will be the responsibility of the state or territory that agrees to the terms and conditions of the offer.

The states and territories will be responsible for ensuring the dive wreck meets the necessary work, health and safety legislation to assure the safety of those diving on the wrecks.