Sunken Historic Ship Now on Dry Land with Future Yet to Surface


Sunken Historic Ship Defender Now on Dry Land with Future Yet to Surface


The 120-year-old timber ship Defender has been removed from Ross Creek and is currently on a slipway in South Townsville.

The vessel had been moored outside Townsville’s Museum of Tropical Queensland for seven years before she sank at her moorings in January.

Following a court case between Maritime Safety Queensland and the vessel’s owner Les Dick, MSQ engaged Pacific Marine Group to carry out the floatation and transport of the vessel.

Cleaning has started and wood damage is visible, as are patches which were required to float the ship for transport.

MSQ has not yet made public the cost of the salvage, but in a recent statement, reiterated their intention to recover all salvage costs from the Mr Dick through the courts.

Tasmania-based Mr Dick said he has not been contacted about the salvage and was relying on photographs sent to him by friends for updates on Defender.

“I haven’t been consulted on it, not one word,” Mr Dick said.

“I haven’t got any [plans for Defender] at the moment; I just need to sit back and wait and see what eventuates.”

MSQ has previously stated that their plans for the vessel would depend on the condition of the Defender after floating.

“The condition of the ship will be assessed to determine subsequent action,” they said in a statement.

‘Degraded’ Defender could sail again

Prior to the salvage Mr Dick expressed concerns the vessel would be broken apart during the process and said that would be the worst possible outcome.

He said he was relieved that the ship was out of Queensland waters and despite her current condition said she “absolutely” could sail again.

“The condition of Defender doesn’t surprise me,” Mr Dick said.

“It has been under the water there, it has been subject to Toredo worm, to rot, whatever else happens underneath, the degradation is fairly vast.”

“If you could see the vessel when I first got her [in 1983] … that was an impossible task.”

Mr Dick said he did not have the resources to restore the ship this time but would endorse plans for the Defender to become a static display in a museum or part of a maritime precinct.

“I would just like to see the vessel further preserved, either at sea or statically.  I don’t want to see it on the tip of Townsville,” Mr Dick said.

“I can say what I like, but ultimately what happens will rest with MSQ.”

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Source: ABC


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