A decommissioned Royal Australian Navy ship could be sold for scrap overseas rather than being scuttled as a diving wreck in Tasmania or Queensland.
HMAS Tobruk was decommissioned last year after 35 years service
Tas and Qld have bid to have it scuttled as a diving wreck
Council officials fear it will be sold for scrap
HMAS Tobruk was retired last year after 35 years of service, including many humanitarian missions.
The Break O'Day Council on Tasmania's east coast wants the ship to be scuttled at Skeleton Bay, near St Helens, a plan that it said would attract thousands of divers each year.
A group in southern Queensland is also vying to have the ship sunk off the coast between Bundaberg and Hervey Bay.
HMAS Tobruk Skeleton Bay project manager Peter Paulsen said he was worried neither group would get a look in.
"The real fear that we have at the moment is that the [Defence] Minister [Marice Payne] is seriously keeping alive the option of scrapping," he said.
"I just feel like the vessel is sitting in Garden Island like it's sitting on death row, waiting for a decision.
"The last thing that we want to see is this vessel sent off to the bone yards of India. It would be an absolute insult.
"This makes us all very nervous. It needs to have the opportunity to serve another life as a dive wreck or as an artificial reef."
Break O'Day Mayor Mick Tucker said it would be an asset to the region in Tasmania's north west.
"We would feel that the benefits for Tasmania far outweigh seeing the boat sent overseas to one of the countries to get cut up and come back as a tin of fruit," he said.
"It would be absolutely devastating."
HMAS Adelaide was the last navy ship to be sunk off the Australia coast in 2011.
It cost about $8 million, most of which was funded by the Federal Government.
Mr Paulsen said he believed it was only fair the Federal Government foot the bill to scuttle the HMAS Tobruk.
"We're not asking for anything that hasn't been achieved in the past," he said.
"The last three vessels to be sunk in Australia ... were gifted to their respective states, along with a very comfortable cheque.
"For a region like St Helens where you've got this nice little isolated corner of the state, that would be a fantastic boost to the entire region."
Mr Tucker said there was no reason for Tasmania to be ignored.
"Every [other] state in Australia has a navy dive wreck. Tasmania does not have one," he said.
"It would once again show the contempt of Tasmania being left off the map.
"We need to have the same opportunity and be treated equal as every other state in Australia. We deserve to have the economic benefit."
The federal Defence Department has been contacted for comment.
Source: abc.net. 2 March 2016