First Time Writing one of these so be Kind!

Thought some people might be interested to read about this - its taken from a local TV program that covered the issue last week.

Some people REALLY need to pull their heads in about wrecks - esp ex RAN Ones - if they kick up too much of a stink other states will be getting the next ships and when the current FFG HMAS Sydney is scraped i would prefer personally to see her on the bottom ageing gracefully then under the scrap mans torch somewhere near her home port (like HMAS Brisbane) and not in someone else's backyard!

Stephen. Aussie (Comments welcome)

HMAS Adelaide to sleep with the fishes

By Brendan Trembath

Updated Fri Mar 5, 2010 10:53pm AEDT

The decommissioned warship HMAS Adelaide is due to be scuttled off the New South Wales central coast to create an artificial reef and dive site.

But the sinking, due in just a few weeks, has angered some residents of the nearby Avoca Beach, who fear contamination from toxic chemicals such as PCBs.

The State Government says the ship has been thoroughly prepared for sinking and independent tests have found no traces of PCBs on board.

Gary Whittaker, a local carpenter who has surfed at the beach for years, says it is a popular spot.

"Avoca's a fantastic place to surf," he said. "The beach breaks at Avoca are as consistent as anywhere on the east coast."

But Mr Whittaker is worried his beloved beach could be spoiled when the HMAS Adelaide is scuttled less than two kilometres offshore.

"I really don't think dumping scrap metal in the ocean is appropriate in 2010. It sounds like a real 1950s solution," he said.

Avoca Boardriders president Anthony Love is also concerned.

"Hopefully it doesn't change the sand patterns of our beach because that's close to my heart - some of the best beaches on the coast," he said.

Residents have formed the Avoca Beach No Ship Action Group. Its spokesman Ben Smith says the environment and businesses could suffer.

"Avoca Beach is a, a very popular tourist beach," he said.

"We have thousands of visitors here every year and a lot of our businesses base their livelihoods on that and we can't afford to risk that.

"There could be, I'm saying could be, PCBs within the fibreglass bulkheads and the decking that remains as part of the structure integrity of the ship.

"We could be eating fish with PCBs on board."

But that is a claim Lands Minister Tony Kelly is quick to counter.

"We had an independent a****sment and tests done and it's found that there are no traces of PCBs on the vessel," he said.

"This is a dive site where people will actually be diving and going inside the ship.

"So not only do we not want any to escape - we don't want any contaminants to be on the ship for the safety of the people who are actually going and diving through it."

Environmental benefits

There are five other such dive sites around Australia.

HMAS Brisbane was scuttled in 2005, north of the city it was named after.

The old ship rests off Mooloolaba and is home to many marine species. It is also a magnet for divers.

Clean Up Australia founder and chairman Ian Kiernan says the scuttling of ships can benefit the environment.

"Scuttling of the ships has been done before and in a lot of instances it's benefited the environment through the creation of artificial reefs," he said.

"But it is absolutely critical that every possible step is taken to ensure that there is absolutely no environmental damage to the local marine area."

Mr Kiernan says he is not qualified to comment on the Adelaide at this stage but is seeking his own expert independent advice.

"In the meantime I adhere to the precautionary principle," he said.

"It's critical that everything possible is being done to ensure this beautiful area is protected."

Federal MP Belinda Neal, whose electorate includes Avoca Beach, said she was not in a position to do an interview today.

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