Dive operator speaks on Tobruk scuttling decision
A BUNDABERG dive operator says while it's disappointing the ex-HMAS Tobruk landed on her starboard side, it's time to move on and make the most of the "world-class site".
The State Government's decision to keep the boat on her side was met with mixed responses from local state and federal government members - but Lady Musgrave Experience owner Brett Lakey says it didn't come as a surprise for dive operators in the region.
He said he was not shocked the ship would remain at its current orientation, because of the length of time it had been left on its side.
"Since the word go, everyone wanted the wreck in the right position, but that didn't happen and now it won't be that way, so we have no choice but to work with it," Mr Lakey said.
"I believe it being upright is the ultimate outcome, and I'm sure everyone is of that same opinion too, but people have to move on and make the best out of it.
"We will be working with the department to maximise those outcomes."
Mr Lakey had previously shared his disappointment with the scuttling - along with Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett and Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt.
In speaking with the NewsMail in October before the announcement was made, Mr Lakey shared his frustration on the lack of communication between government departments and dive operators - who were having to turn away requests from dive clubs to dive the wreck.
Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef Leeanne Enoch made the announcement on October 13 that the Tobruk would stay on her side, after months of speculation.
The decision followed the release of an independent report by Dive Queensland president Terrence Cummins.
Mr Cummins' report showed more damage could be done to the ship if it were to be repositioned reducing the longevity of the wreck - causing safety concerns.
The wreck, coined a "world-class dive site", cost almost $10 million to prepare.
Mr Lakey said he didn't think the positioning of the ship would deter keen divers.
"The artificial reef has been there for four months now, and people will still want to add site to their 'to dive' list," he said.
"Hopefully they will have different avenues to explore the wreck and create a package with reef tours to bring divers to do reef and wreck dives.
"The next best thing is to work with it, the marketing ($1 million advertising fund from the State Government) will really assist the operators to create that interest and appeal of the dive site and create that awareness for the region to boost tourism. It'll be a world-class site for divers."