Beneficial for the environment (increased marine life)
Strong financial business case for NSW
Where will the ship be sunk?
We have identified a suggested site approx. 4km off Coogee (east of Wedding Cake Island) and the initial survey and research on the site indicates that it is suitable and meets all the required criteria. But is still the subject of a comprehensive EIS.
How deep will the ship be sunk?
The bottom of the wreck will be in approx 35m, which allows diving within recreational diving depths. Other wrecks are not available within these depths in Sydney, and are mostly much deeper.
How will dive boats get to the wreck?
Typically from either Botany Bay or Sydney Harbour ( Manly or Rose Bay) which are currently used by dive charter boats today.
Will private dive boats be able to use the wreck?
It is likely there will be a system similar to that which operates on the ex-HMAS Adelaide, where there is a mix of moorings available for dive charters boats and private dive boats (for a fee).
How much will the Dive Wreck Project cost?
We expect this to cost approx. $5 – $10 Million.
Who pays for this?
This will be funded by the NSW State Government.
When will it be sunk?
That will depend on when we get a ship, and when funds are approved, but potentially 1-2 years after approval.
Do you have a ship ?
We are targeting three ships and have asked the Defence Minister to make one of these available – the HMAS Success, the HMAS Newcastle and the HMAS Melbourne . These are all being decommissioned in mid/late 2019.
What happens if you don’t get one of these?
There are several other ships due to be decommissioned in the next five years . We would ask for one of those.
What other options are there for ex-Navy ships?
Typical options are either to sell them for scrap, use them as training vessels or possibly even for target practice. We think that a dive wreck is a much better use – and will provide better financial returns to the government than scrapping would. It is ongoing revenue estimated between $12M and $48M every 5 years.
How can I help?
The most important way right now is speak to or write to your local MP and let them know that you support Sydney Dive Wreck, and also to sign the paper petition. We have over 12,500 signatures and will be tabling the petition in the NSW Parliament in November 2019.
Other ways to help
Email or write to your local MP, or to the Premier, saying you support Sydney Dive Wreck – (and why).
Like our facebook page (to show our community support and keep you updated on progress).
Sign the online petition.
I don’t like the idea, how can I object?
Email or write to your local MP saying you don’t support this – (and why)
The ship might end up on Coogee beach after a big storm
The preliminary advice we have received from environmental marine engineers that this is most unlikely. If there were sea conditions that could move a 4,000 tonne ship sunk in 35meters in the ocean, then the entire Eastern Suburbs coastal community will be in peril and the ship would be the least of any problems associated with those conditions.
Sinking a ship in the ocean will cause terrible pollution
There will be no negative effects on the marine environment. The pre scuttling and post monitoring of the environmental impacts on the ex-HMAS Adelaide have established this, and there will be continuous monitoring required on our wreck. [See 4.2 on the latest business proposal for details as below] The ex HMAS Adelaide as a condition of scuttling has a heavy metals monitoring requirement. A site comparison has been made pre and post scuttling of metal contamination. The survey was completed by Worley Parsons pre and post scuttling. This survey showed sediment values are all below ANZECC/ ARMCANZ national guidelines (ANZECC 2000) so there is a very low risk of any adverse environmental effects. Cardno Ecology Lab (2013) did a study 21 months later and concluded the impact to the marine environment and associated benthic biota as a result of metal corrosion and or degradation of paint layers from the Ex HMAS Adelaide is considered unlikely. [The fact was the Adelaide was ready to be sunk in an environmentally sustainable way (Worley Parsons 2009). The NSAG obtained a hearing before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal based on the fact that the Minister Peter Garrett had signed off on a sinking date before he had signed off on the Sea Dumping Permit for the ship not on the basis of the NSAG arguments that the process was environmentally unsustainable (AAT 2010).]
Why do you want to put the wreck off Coogee, there must be lots of other better places?
There are many communities around Australia, and the world, where artificial reefs have been installed with no adverse effects on the local community, and in fact the reef has brought benefits to the community, such as employment, tourism spending and additional local employment. Similar benefits are expected for Sydney.
Why should the government spend all this money on divers, what about the rest of the community? Couldn’t the NSW government put its money to better use?
We agree divers will benefit from this wreck. However there are many other groups who will also benefit from an ex-Navy ship being scuttled in Sydney including the local tourism industry and the Marine Scientists being able to conduct research on the wreck. Also, we are planning to install a web camera so even non-divers can enjoy experiencing the excitement of the underwater marine life. As far as the cost of the wreck is concerned, we anticipate the costs for scuttling the wreck to be recovered within 2 years from the economic benefits to NSW associated with the wreck.
How will the wreck affect marine life?
Dive wrecks attract marine life, and we expect the marine life to increase in the area. The proposed site for the wreck is a barren sandy bottom today with very limited life. We are looking a building a corridor of reef balls which will assist marine life in moving to/from adjacent reefs (eg Wedding Cake Island) to the wreck. A recent study by Suthers and colleagues (Folpp 2020) showed that 3 species of Sparidae fish seen on artificial reefs were not attracted from the nearby rocky reefs and were produced by the addition of artificial reefs at estuary locations in Lake Macquarie, Botany Bay and St George Basin NSW. The study showed that overall total fish abundance increased up to 20 times in each reef across a two year period. Folpp, H., Schilling, H.T. Clark, G.F., Lowry, M.B., Maslen, B., Gregson, M., Suthers, I., Artificial reefs increase fish abundance in habitat-limited estuariues. Journal of Applied Ecology
Will a dive wreck increase shark life in the area (and cause a danger for swimmers…)?
The Department of Primary Industry has researched shark activity around artificial reefs, and states… A spokeswoman for (former) Primary Industries Minister, Niall Blair, said monitoring of artificial reefs at Sydney and the Shoalhaven “have provided no evidence to suggest that offshore artificial reefs attract dangerous sharks”.
It will spoil my view of Coogee beach
The only things on the surface would be a number of marker buoys, and the dive boats bringing the divers. These will be 4km offshore and would not present an adverse view.
This campaign has been going on for a long time – what has happened and will it ever be successful?
The campaign has indeed been going for several years. The team leading the campaign has been actively working with our state and federal MPs to gain support, and with the community. While we have made some progress, there is still more work to do. The campaign will be successful if we can build enough community support to demonstrate to our government the community wants this. You can help by… ( refer question 11)
I’m not from Sydney, can I still sign?
Yes. You do not need to be from Sydney, or NSW [or Australia*] to sign, or an Australian citizen. We are hoping the dive wreck attracts overseas/interstate tourists (divers), so anyone from outside Sydney who signs will be supporting that aspect of the dive wreck *[ note: this point re. overseas signatures has recently been questioned and we are awaiting an answer from the NSW Parliament speaker. We can accept signatures from anyone based in Australia.]
I am a fisherman. I’m told there will be a fishing exclusion zone around the dive wreck and I’m not happy about that.
It’s true there will be a fishing exclusion zone in a small area, approx. 200 metres radius around the artificial reef. However if you are a fisherman you should be pleased an artificial reef is being built. Even though you cannot fish in the small exclusion zone, overall fish life will increase in the area through the spillover – making the fishing better in the area than it is today.
The Dive Wreck Plan
Creating a world class dive site and marine ecosystem