HMAS Bundaberg's fate is still unknown

THE fate of the HMAS Bundaberg engulfed by fire last week is still unknown, despite speculation it may be used for an artificial reef.

The patrol boat was gutted by fire while undergoing routine maintenance at the Aluminium Boats Australia commercial facility when it caught alight.

A Department of Defence spokesperson said the boat suffered "significant damage" in the blaze which happened on Monday, August 11.

"Since then an environmental assessment of the site has been completed, allowing officials access to conduct a structural safety assessment," the spokesperson said.

"Once the safety assessment is completed, a full assessment of the extent of damage can then be undertaken."

The Armidale Class Patrol boat was one of 14 vessels rotating through border protection operations, but was in dry dock undertaking a programmed maintenance period at the time.

"There is no immediate effect to ongoing operations," the spokesperson said.

The HMAS Bundaberg was commissioned in March 2007 and has visited the Bundaberg Port on several occasions.

"It is premature at this stage to speculate on the cause of the fire or the future employment of the vessel," the spokesperson said.



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