FINAL GOODBYES: ex-HMAS Tobruk leaves Bundaberg Port on her way to her final resting place off the coast of Wide Bay.
FINAL GOODBYES: ex-HMAS Tobruk leaves Bundaberg Port on her way to her final resting place off the coast of Wide Bay. Ben Turnbull

Is the Tobruk on her side? Divers don't need to worry

NO NEED to man the panic stations.

While some divers are concerned the ex-HMAS Tobruk will end up resting on her starboard side, the 127-metre-long former Landing Ship Heavy will still make an excellent artificial reef for marine life to call home and divers to enjoy.

As thousands of Facebook followers watched the scuttling livestream on the Ex-HMAS Tobruk: From Wreck to Reef page, a hundreds of others watched on from boats in Hervey Bay, the ex-navy ship could be seen clearly listing to her starboard side.

In comparison to the ex-HMAS Brisbane's textbook scuttling in 2005 off Mooloolaba, it appears almost certain the Tobruk has come to a rest on the seafloor on her side.

While it's not ideal, there are plenty of other examples around the world of scuttling going awry.

During and after my undergraduate studies at the University of Miami in Florida I was a regular diver and dive guide on the USS Spiegel Grove, which sensationally sank prematurely and ended up upside down before giant lift bags (at an addition cost of $250,000USD at the time) were used to get her on her starboard side.

She sat like that for three years until the force of the storm surge from Hurricane Dennis pushed the wreck nearly perfectly upright.

As part of the support crew for a team of NOAA scientists, I was one of the first to dive the Spiegel Grove upright after the storm and it was surreal experience.

We became accustomed to everything inside the ship being 'sideways' and a swim down to the stern was always a highlight for the chance to see the large propellers.

But the Spiegel Grove was just as great of a dive in her upright position as new features were exposed.

Closer to home, the scuttling of the ex-HMAS Adelaide off Terrigal also had its issues with the wreck subsiding to rest deeper than expected - limiting it to advanced scuba divers.

A wreck dive is so much more than the size and orientation of the ship itself. What makes a wreck dive exciting and ever-changing is the marine life the structure attracts and the Tobruk will do that no matter how she lies.



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