Centaur wreck found off Moreton Is

The hospital ship Centaur.
The hospital ship Centaur.
THE wreck of the Australian Hospital Ship Centaur had been located off the Queensland coast more than 2000 metres below the surface.

Acting Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Queensland Premier Anna Bligh today announced that the search team had confirmed the location of the wreck this morning.

The AHS Centaur was sunk without warning by a torpedo from a Japanesesubmarine on 14 May 1943, about 50 miles east north-east of Brisbane.Of the 332 persons on board, only 64 survived.

The search crew has under-taken five high-resolution sonar tracklines overthe target site, and is now conducting a further run to obtain aclearer picture of the wreck.

Ms Gillard congratulated the search team and thanked all those who had contributed to the find over many years.

“The discovery of the AHS Centaur will ensure all Australians know and commemorate the 268 brave nurses and crew who died in the service of their nation.”

“I hope by locating the final resting place of the AHS Centaur, the family and friends of those men and women who were tragically lost find some resolution.”

Premier Bligh said representatives of the Centaur Association, Centaur Nurses Association, the RSL and the families and friends of those lost in AHS Centaur would be pleased to learn about the discovery after so many years of uncertainty.

“It is timely to take a moment to remember those lives lost on that tragic dayin 1943, and the devastating effect this has had on their families,” MsBligh said.

“This morning’s confirmation that the wreck has been found will hopefully provide some peace to the loved ones of those killed.

“We will now use this momentum to finish this task and film the wreck site. In early January, a remotely operated submersible vehicle equipped witha high-definition camera will collect high quality imagery of the wreck and the surrounding area.”

David Mearns, the principal of Bluewater Recoveries, guided the search on board the Defence Maritime Services support vessel Seahorse Spirit.

The vessel carries deep-sea side-scan sonar equipment and a remotely operated submersible vehicle capable of being operated at depths below 3,000 metres.

Mr Mearns said the wreck location is approximately 30 miles due east of the southern tip of Moreton Island (27 deg 16.98’ South, 153 deg 59.22’East) at a depth of 2,059 metres.

The Australian andQueensland governments jointly committed $4 million to the search andofficers from the Department of Defence and the Department of Premierand Cabinet provided oversight and technical assistance to the project.

For more information on the search go to this site.

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