Australian warship sunk as artificial reef

Monday, August 1, 2005

The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) warship HMAS Brisbane was sunk yesterday as an artificial reef off the coast of Mudjimba, Sunshine Coast, Queensland.

Brisbane was one of three Charles F. Adams-class guided-missile destroyers built for the RAN. She was launched at Bay City, Michigan in the United States on 5 May 1966.

She saw service in the Vietnam and Gulf wars before decommissioning on 19 October 2001.

The bridge and other parts of the ship were removed and preserved at the Australian War Museum in Canberra.

Brisbane was filled with approximately 200 tonnes of concrete and 38 small charges were placed around the hull. The charges were detonated by Queensland Premier Peter Beattie, sinking Brisbane within five-minutes.

Thousands of people watched the spectacle, including Brisbane's former commanding officer, Rear-Admiral Geoffrey Loosli.

The tourist industry hopes that Brisbane will become a popular diving site, attracting up to 10,000 divers annually, bringing around $20 million Australian dollars.

A number of warships have recently been sunk as artificial reefs. The British Royal Navy's HMS Scylla was sunk as one in Western Europe on 27 May 2004. The Canadian frigate HMCS Nipigon was sunk in 2003 on the St. Lawrence River, near Rimouski, Quebec.