Its sinking marks the culmination of a five-year campaign by local communities to have a military wreck sunk in the area. It is expected to generate Au $5m a year in revenue, and not only to attract visitors but to boost fish stocks in the area.

The 127m Tobruk was launched in 1980 as the Royal Australian Navy’s first purpose-built amphibious heavy lift ship. She had two helicopter decks, a tank deck, vehicle deck, roll-on/roll-off function and accommodation for up to 520 troops.

Decommissioned in 2015, the vessel was prepared for sinking in the port of Bundaberg before being towed about 15 miles off the coast and flooded in Great Sandy Marine Park, just off Hervey Bay. Two previous attempts had to be aborted because of poor weather conditions.

“This unique dive-site will appeal to divers of all levels of ability,” said Queensland Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch at the sinking ceremony. She said that diver-access holes had been cut to provide access and lighting into the depths of the vessel.

“The upper rear decks of the ship are anticipated to be in water shallower than 18m, appealing to open-water divers and snorkellers," said the Minister. "The internal tank deck is anticipated to be at a depth of 25m, appealing to advanced and technical divers.”

The first divers are expected to be allowed on the Tobruk in August, following inspections.

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