Premier & Trade, Peter Beattie 27/07/05
Sunshine Coast's 'sinking excitement' rises: Beattie
Countdown to creation of Queensland's newest tourism drawcard - the ex-HMAS BRISBANE dive site - has begun, Premier Peter Beattie said today.
"If Queensland's perfect winter weather holds - we're looking okay," said the Premier.
Preparations for the scuttling of the former navy destroyer are gearing-up, with scuttling on-track for Sunday at 10am(*).
"The optimum conditions for scuttling are sea-swell less than a metre and breeze under ten knots," he said.
"Clearly the primary considerations as we lead up to the sinking are safety and a successful scuttling so that the ship settles upright on the bottom."
Mr Beattie said the scuttling team, lead by Canadian expert Roy Gabriel, is in full swing, focusing on laying 38 charges necessary for the ship's controlled implosion.
"These precision charges will detonate below the water line and cut through panels in the hull up to a metre square.
"The larger holes will speed the scuttling and will ultimately provide diver access to the ship once it's on the sea bed."
Ex-HMAS BRISBANE is to be scuttled 2.5 nautical miles east of Mudjimba Island.
Environment Minister Desley Boyle said the ship was currently being 're-ballasted' to compensate for the tonnes of materials that had been stripped from it for environmental and safety reasons.
"As wonderful as the ex-HMAS BRISBANE is going to be as a Sunshine Coast tourist attraction, there has been and is still a lot of hard work to be done," she said.
More than two-hundred tonnes of concrete will be pumped into its base, and some areas will be filled with water so the ship can be easily towed, and will have enough weight to sink.
Mr Beattie said the ship would farewell its Caincross Dockyard home for the past year on Friday afternoon (*)- "If the current weather continues to hold."
The public would have an opportunity on Sunday to participate in a spectator flotilla, or view the scuttling from either Alexandra Headlands or Point Cartwright (best with binoculars or telescope).
"Those who can't make it along won't miss out as the sinking will be televised. Excitement is building both in Brisbane and on the Sunshine Coast for this once-in-a-lifetime-chance to see the sinking of a warship."
(*) Times are indicative. This event is subject to late unplanned change.
Mudjimba Island, Not Assigned
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