Former Australian frigate HMAS Darwin starting new life as dive wreck off Tasmania

The Royal Australian Navy’s decommissioned frigate ex-HMAS Darwin is to be scuttled in the waters off Tasmania to become a dive wreck, the Australian government announced August 9.

Australian defense minister Marise Payne said she was pleased that the former Adelaide-class frigate would call Tasmania home after sailing over 1 million nautical miles during her 33 years of service.

“The government is pleased that ex-HMAS Darwin will be used in Tasmania as a dive wreck, particularly given the significant tourism and economic benefits that will flow from the decision,” Minister Payne said.

“My Tasmanian Coalition Senate colleagues have played an important part in demonstrating the benefits of sending ex-HMAS Darwin to Tasmania one last time.

“I would like to acknowledge Senator Steve Martin who led the charge in advocating for sending ex-HMAS Darwin to Tasmania.”

Nationals senator for Tasmania Steve Martin said the decision to gift ex-HMAS Darwin to Tasmania would give a much welcome boost to the local tourism sector, creating new jobs and bringing more visitors to the east coast.

“The creation of a dive wreck offers small businesses in Tasmania the opportunity to capitalise on national and international interest to dive in the magnificent Tasmanian waters,” Senator Martin said.

The Commonwealth and Tasmanian governments will work together on funding arrangements for the vessel’s scuttling.

Ex-HMAS Darwin was commissioned in July 1984 and was a long-range escort frigate that undertook roles including area air defense, anti-submarine warfare, surveillance, reconnaissance and interdiction. In August 1990, HMAS Darwin became the first Australian ship to deploy to the Persian Gulf.

In 2014 she intercepted over 1,000 kilos of heroin and over 6,000 kilos of hashish off the east coast of Africa. In 2016 she intercepted heroin worth $800 million and a cache of weapons from a fishing vessel off the coast of Oman

Ex-HMAS Darwin was granted three Battle Honours: East Timor 1999, Persian Gulf 2002-03 and Iraq 2003. She was decommissioned in December 2017.

Photo: Royal Australian Navy file photo of HMAS Darwin.