Posts Tagged ‘Victorian Artificial Reef Society’

The day Chris Hartcher dumped on Avoca

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

April 13th, 2011

The New South Wales Liberal Party has safely held the State electoral seat of Terrigal on the New South Wales Central Coast under its local party politician Chris Hartcher since 1988.  In the March 2011 NSW election, Hartcher increased his margin by 15.9%, enough to run riot with a Liberal wish list.

Bulbararing Bay  (Avoca Beach)
New South Wales, Australian east coast.


‘HMAS Adelaide’ scuttled off Avoca Beach today

[Source: No Ship Group, Wednesday 13th April 2011]


‘On the Liberal wish list has been dumping HMAS Adelaide in the clean waters off Avoca Beach (Bulbararing Bay) , which lies within the Terrigal electorate.

Today the NSW Liberal Party leader Barry O’Farrell, fresh in power, has fast tracked the scuttling of a scrap Navy warship off the coast of North Avoca Beach.

The Royal Australian Navy has conveniently saved money by sinking its scrap warship, HMAS Adelaide, off Avoca Beach.  It is no different an environmental blight than all the sunk warships still polluting the Pacific after World War II.  Obviously Navy culture harks to 20th Century habits and until local resident action group, No Ship Action Group, took legal action the Navy irresponsibly was happy to conveniently leave all the toxic polychlorinated biphenyls aboard for the scuttling.

[Read more about the health effects of ^polychlorinated biphenyls].

HMAS Adelaide (Navy Frigate)

‘On March 27 the State Government arranged a party to dump this “clean” warship in our bay without proper community consultation or an Environmental Impact Statement. A community had to raise $70 000 to obtain the truth and they have now been ordered to remove additional toxic materials at a cost of over a million dollars. They have already admitted that much of this toxic material will remain on the vessel and our request for transparent scrutiny of the completed work has been denied.’




So the cost of the scuttling has been estimated to cost Australian taxpayers up to $8.5 million!  What does the Navy care?  Costs don’t seem to matter to the Navy, let alone environmental costs or community costs.

What does Chris Hartcher care about the impacts of dumping a scrap metal wreck to the values of local traditional owners, or to local marine life, to migrating humpback whales, to public health, to surf patterns,to sand drift or to beach erosion?  None of them has enough votes, which is all that counts in party politics.   Co-incidental that senior members of the Central Coast Artificial Reef Project, driving this scuttling project are ex-Navy divers.

Humpback whale off Avoca Beach


The No Ship Action Group has highlighted comparable problems from the Adelaide’s sister ship, ex-HMAS Canberra, which was scuttled 2.3km off Ocean Grove, Victoria, in 2009.

Instead, the now promoted ‘Minister for the Central Coast’ Chris Hartcher said the wreck would generate millions of dollars in tourism and follow-on revenue for the coast’s economy.

“This will deliver significant recreational, tourism and economic benefits to the region, as well as educational and scientific research opportunities,” he said.

[Source: HMAS Adelaide sunk off Avoca Beach in NSW by Vince Morello 13th April 2011, AAP, ^ ]

Shame on the Navy, (as if it hasn’t enough shame already) for dumping its unwanted scrap on Australia’s coastline.  Shame on MP Chris Hartcher and on Premier Barry O’Farrell.   Dumping toxic ships in the ocean is an ‘archaic, reckless and wasteful act‘.

The so-called artificial reef will benefit selfish exploitist divers like the very vocal Terrigal Dive Centre.



‘HMAS Adelaide – The Only Thing Sinking on the Coast is Labor’s Resolve’

Tuesday, 09 June 2009

Shadow Minister for the Central Coast, Chris Hartcher, today called on Minister for the Central Coast, John Della Bosca and Member for Robertson, Belinda Neal, to get their act together and deliver the comparatively small amount of funding needed to bring the HMAS Adelaide to the Central Coast.

“This is a major project for the Central Coast. It has the potential to generate jobs and serious tourist dollars. I just can’t understand why the Labor Party have lost interest.

“This is one of the biggest issues facing local members, State and Federal but we’ve had nothing but eerie silence from Labor Members.

“Grant McBride mumbled some sorry excuse about bureaucracy but the reality is that he has the ear of the Premier. He’s right there in Nathan Rees’ party room. All he has to do is stick up his hand or pick up the phone.

“John Della Bosca is a Minister in the NSW Government – he helps hold the purse-strings. He could write the cheque today if he wanted to.

“And Belinda Neal has the ear of the Prime Minister – the man who stood by her through the Iguanagate scandal. Why won’t she just pick up the phone and ask for another favour?

“Coast residents shouldn’t be fooled – each and every Labor Member on the Central Coast is a mere phone call away from the money required to sink the Adelaide.

“But as usual, the Labor Party is full of excuses.

“It was a bureaucratic bungle, it was a mistake or they can’t find the funding.

“It’s all a bit ridiculous.

“Federal Labor and State Labor are under the same roof – why can’t they just get it together and cough up the cash?

“The State Labor Government has failed the Central Coast.

“The Federal Labor Government has failed the Central Coast.

“My message to each and every Labor MP on the Coast is a simple one; stand up against your own party’s incompetence and give us our artificial reef.

“The only thing sinking on the Central Coast at the moment is the Labor Members’ resolve.”


[Source: ^, accessed 13th April 2011.]


Lest We Forget the Local Protest


‘600 people join Avoca Beach protest against sinking ex-HMAS Adelaide’

[The Express Advocate, 8th March 2010, ^]

The golden sands of Avoca Beach turned to a sea of red Saturday morning when around 600 people turned up for a rally protesting the sinking of the ex-HMAS Adelaide.

Organisers had asked people to wear red as a sign of their opposition to the sinking of the ship 1.7km off Avoca Beach.

The concern that had been growing since residents discovered in January the ship would be scuttled off Avoca and not Terrigal culminated in Saturday’s rally where protesters danced and waved their hands to songs by Midnight Oil, the rock band formerly fronted by Peter Garrett, the environment minister who will sign off on the sea dumping, and cheered guest speakers who all spoke passionately about their environmental and lifestyle concerns.

Organised by the No Ship Action group, the rally was addressed by Dr Ian Charlton, a GP in the area and keen surfer, Quentin Riley, a long time Avoca Beach resident, Ben Smith an oceanographer and commercial pilot, Scott Forty, a doctor and dive enthusiast, Gary Whittaker, a builder, and Avoca Beach residents Kylie Hobin, Neil Robinson and Susan O’Connor.

“We all love Avoca Beach,’’ Mr Riley said.

“We are here to tell the truth about this situation. “We’re not just worried, we’re frightened, very frightened about the repercussions of the sinking of this ship.’’

Speakers spoke of the lack of consultation, the lack of an environmental impact statement (EIS), the lack of communication with the authorities organising the sinking, and the fear the ship will contain toxic materials including PCBs.

“If there has been an EIS, we would have been consulted 18 months ago,’’ Mr Riley said.

“We would have asked our questions then and we would have got answers.  Around 4000 people never got the chance to comment or question the project.’’

Mr Smith, an Avoca Beach resident and commercial pilot, said he had grave concerns about the future of the beach and described the sinking as a ‘wanton act of vandalism’.

He said no other ship had been scuttled so close to shore.

“Stand up and be counted,’’ he said.

“This is our home and we don’t want that dam boat.’’

Mr Forty, a dive enthusiast, said most dive wrecks were located where they had met an unfortunate end, not placed in a pristine environment so close to shore.

“For a dive experience this is too good to be true, just a six minute boat ride from Terrigal and in only 30 metres of water,’’ he said.

“It will be like a Queensland theme park.  “It should be scuttled further out and it would be a more interesting dive.

“Put it our further and it’s only a 20 minute ride, please rethink the site.’’

The two-hour rally finished up with the protesters lining up on the beach to spell out NO SHIP.

Lands Minister Tony Kelly said on Friday the scuttling was on schedule and would take place on March 27.

He said independent tests found no traces of PCBs on the vessel.

“I hope this now puts to bed unfounded claims being spread through the local community,’’ Mr Kelly said.

“All potential impacts have been considered including marine life, flora, fauna, water quality, swell conditions and sediment movement in the bay.

“The community can feel assured by these painstaking preparations and investigations.’’


.Common questions  (from  the HMAS Adelaide Reef website, before the scuttling):


1. Where is the Ex-HMAS ADELAIDE now?

The Ex-HMAS ADELAIDE is at the Sydney ports Corporation Berth No. 2 at Glebe Island on White Bay. It is undergoing final preparation for scuttling and its future as a dive site.

2. How is the site being designed for diving?

The Land & Property Management Authority (LPMA) has engaged the services of a team of designers who have been responsible for the design of every other military wreck around Australia. Assisting this team is a reference group which consists of representatives from local dive clubs, professional divers (such as the Navy, Police and Army divers), industry regulators such as Workcover and rescue personnel.

3. Who approves the environmental standard of preparation of the ship?

The ship will be prepared to the stringent environmental standards required by the Commonwealth Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPC). They are responsible for approving the scuttling of the ship under the Environment Protection (Sea Dumping) Act 1981. You can also read our Environmental Fact Sheet about the Ex-HMAS Adelaide.

4. When and where will the Ex-HMAS ADELAIDE be sunk?

The scuttling of the Ex-HMAS ADELAIDE is scheduled to take place on Wednesday 13 April,  so long as weather conditions are favourable. The vessel’s final resting place will be approximately 1.4km south of the Skillion at Terrigal and 1.8km off Avoca Beach in around 32m of water.

5. What will happen at this time?

On 11 April the Ex-HMAS ADELAIDE will be towed to the Central Coast. It will be escorted by police and other authorities and will have an exclusion zone in place. It will be anchored off Avoca Beach whilst final preparations are made such as cutting dive access holes above the water line. On the day of scuttling an exclusion zone of around 1000m will remain in place until after the Ex-HMAS ADELAIDE in scuttled and all safety checks have been completed.

6. What constitutes a successful scuttling?

The intention is for the Ex-HMAS Adelaide to be sunk in an upright position at the designated location and orientation, approximately ESE.  Should the vessel not scuttle exactly as planned, this will not adversely affect its operation as a dive site and artificial reef.  Some divers even suggest that it might be more interesting as a dive site if it is not perfectly upright.

For the scuttling process, an exclusion zone will be in place for the safety of spectators, and a spotter helicopter will check that there are no passing whales, dolphins etc.

7. Why are the weather conditions so important?

When the ship is towed out to be scuttled it will have no power or ability to move independently. It will also have many pre-cut panels  in the hull above the water line which will become dive access holes once the panels are removed after arriving at the scuttling site. Calm weather conditions, little wind and low swell are required to safely take the ship out to sea and scuttle it.

In the event that weather conditions are not suitable to commence the tow from Sydney, towing will be postponed until Saturday 16 April, with the scuttling to take place on Monday 18 April, subject to favourable weather conditions.

Once the Ex-HMAS ADELAIDE is anchored off Avoca and planned scuttling is not possible due to unfavourable weather conditions, the scuttling will take place at the first available opportunity when weather conditions are suitable.

8. Where will the Ex-HMAS ADELAIDE be finally located?

The Ex-HMAS ADELAIDE will be located approximately 1.4km south of the Skillion at Terrigal and 1.8km off Avoca Beach in around 32m of water.

9. How many moorings will there be?

There will be six moorings placed around the ship. Two of these will be exclusively licensed to commercial operators, another two will be available for any commercial operator to book on a casual basis. The final two moorings will be available to recreational divers.

10. How will the dive site be managed?

A Crown reserve (the HMAS Adelaide Reserve) has been declared over the final resting place of the Ex-HMAS ADELAIDE.  An agent will be engaged to market the opportunity to the dive and tourism industries, issue permits to dive the Ex-HMAS ADELAIDE and take bookings for moorings.

11. Will I have to pay to dive the Ex-HMAS ADELAIDE?

Yes. The ongoing management and maintenance of the dive site to ensure it remains a world class dive attraction will cost money. As such it is expected that a per dive fee will be collected to recover the cost of these activities. Pricing is yet to be determined.

12. How will I buy a ticket to dive?

A ticket to dive the Ex-HMAS ADELAIDE will be able to be purchased from the LPMA’s commercial agent. Before being issued with a permit all divers will be required to provide evidence that they have the necessary dive qualifications and agree to abide by a Code of Conduct whilst on the dive site.”

Central Coast Artificial Reef Project Committee

The CCARP committee is comprised of members of Brisbane Water Aqualung Club, Terrigal Underwater Group, Terrigal Diving School.
CCARP was originally created with the aim of lobbying the Commonwealth and NSW governments for acquisition of the decommissioned destroyer HMAS Brisbane. For a number of years the Australian Federal Government has had a policy of ceding to the states its warships as they become surplus to requirements and are decommissioned.


~ ~


…’Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live’.

~ Oscar Wilde


Blessing Ceremony by local Indigenous people of Bulbararing Bay in 2008



‘Scuttling of warship will be a disaster’

[Source: Sydney Morning Herald, 20110412, ‘Scuttling of warship will be a disaster’, by Garry Trompf, Arcadia, Letters to the Editor,  , viewed 20110412.]

‘I am deeply concerned about the scuttling of HMAS Adelaide at Avoca (”Ombudsman sinks last bid to stop scuttling of frigate”, April 11,

If the break-up of Adelaide’s sister ship, HMAS Canberra, is anything to go by, there will debris all over the beaches around Avoca within the next 18 months.

The navy’s destroyers which have previously been scuttled are all intact, but they are not constructed like frigates. The frigate HMAS Canberra has broken up after just 16 months. A New Zealand frigate lasted just six weeks before breaking into three and spreading debris all over nearby beaches.

The disintegration of HMAS Adelaide will also involve the dispersal of 23,000 square metres of lead paint and other dangerous contaminants in an area where migratory humpback whales (including calves) take shelter and where many families and children enjoy the beaches. It is a recipe for disaster.

Under the plan of management for the ex-HMAS Canberra, the dive site will be closed as a commercial site if the ship falls over or breaks up.

These issues are not mentioned in the review of environmental factors for the scuttling of HMAS Adelaide.

The NSW Ombudsman’s office has rightly asked for explanations on a range of issues. It has to be decided whether the state government has been complying with the orders of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. The Premier should defer the sinking until the Ombudsman’s questions are answered.

I believe a reconsideration of the matter will reveal the utter lack of wisdom in allowing the vessel to be dumped in such environmentally sensitive waters.’





Naval history of ‘frigate dumping‘ on communities


The Royal Australian Navy has a history of dumping its friggin frigates on coastal communities.  At 2 pm on Sunday, 4 October 2009, the Navy’s unwanted Guided Missile Frigate FFG02 HMAS Canberra was scuttled off the Victorian seaside town of Ocean Grove.   Two years earlier, the Federal Government had committed $7 million of taxpayers money to prepare the ship for scuttling.

Just like the scuttling of ex-frigate HMAS Adelaide, the scuttling of ex-frigate HMAS Canberra was all so that local divers could have somewhere fun to play.

Seems a bunch of ex-Navy divers have come up with a novel way for the Navy to rid itself of old stock, while dive schools reap the promise of dive tourism revenue.  But at whose expense?

Problem is that Victorian Artificial Reef Society and local divers may not get that chance to play, since the HMAS Canberra has been reported breaking up and is now deemed unsafe to dive on, and may never be. What is certain is that the Navy has dumped on Australia’s coastline.  (Read article extract below: ‘EXCLUSIVE: HMAS Canberra breaking up‘).

Can Australian taxpayers expect to get their $7 million recompensed from the Nay from its botched HMAS Canberra scuttling?  What chance is the $8.5 million from the HMAS Adelaide another botched scuttling?   Couldn’t Australia’s Navy better spend the combined $15.5 million that it has scuttled, instead on meeting Australia’s important strategic Defence obligations?

In May 2007 the Navy was funded $52 million over four financial years for the continued surveillance of Australia’s northern approaches as part of Operation Resolute.   $15.5 million represents about a third of that funding, which could have been better spent on more effective surveillance of Australia’s northern approaches.

[Sources: ^, ^]


Couldn’t Australia’s Navy be more responsible with its unwanted vessels by dismantling them and cost-recovering the parts for scrap/recycling?




EXCLUSIVE: HMAS Canberra breaking up


[Source:  Ocean Grove Voice community newspaper, February 2011, ^]


‘PARKS Victoria has warned divers the ex-HMAS Canberra off the coast of Ocean Grove has begun to break up and could be dangerous, writes Carly Helweg.
The Victorian Government’s website reports the helicopter hanger on the port side of the ex-HMAS Canberra, scuttled in October 2009, “has separated from the main super structure.”
A statement issued on the Parks Victoria website said, “As a result the frames and plating on the port side are moving 30mm vertically and 150mm horizontally which may pose a hazard to divers in this area as the structure may move unexpectedly.”
“There are a large number of loose items in the lower deck and mid-ships areas of the vessel including lockers, cabinets, panelling and ducting.”

It warns, “It is strongly recommended that recreational divers stay away from these areas of the vessel to avoid the risk of personal injury.”
A NSW environmentalist group has used HMAS Canberra as an example in protesting the scuttling of sister ship, HMAS Adelaide, off Avoca Beach on the Central Coast.
According to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald on February 9, the No Ship Action Group at Avoca spokeswoman, Michelle Meares, said the Canberra has already tipped from an angle of 3 degrees to an angle of 22 degrees.
It is claimed if the Canberra leans over a certain angle it will fall, making it unusable as a dive site.
“When it gets to 27 or 30 degrees, it will likely tip over and not be able to be used as a diving wreck,” Ms Meares said to the Herald.
The Herald also reported, “according to Parks Victoria source, fiberglass insulation, foam insulation from wall and ceiling cavities, panelling and other debris is floating in the bay or has washed onto the beach.”




Further Reading:


[1]   No Ship Action Group, ^

[2]   HMAS Adelaide Artificial Reef website, ^

[3]  Search the Internet on the subject of  ‘artificial reefs impacts

[4] Now the Navy wants to sink another old ship at Jervis Bay…’Sinking the HMAS Manoora in Jervis Bay‘, 201108 “Shoalhaven City Council has confirmed it’s in principle support on a proposal for the sinking of the HMAS Manoora as a dive site in Jervis Bay at last night’s extraordinary Council meeting.”

[Read Shoalhaven Council Report]



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