GOING DOWN: Ex-HMAS Tobruk at the Port of Bundaberg.
GOING DOWN: Ex-HMAS Tobruk at the Port of Bundaberg. Mike Knott BUN100518TOBRUK1

GOING DOWN: Date with fate for ex-HMAS Tobruk

EX-HMAS Tobruk could reach her finally resting place in as short as three weeks - earlier than anticipated.

The original plan was to have her sitting at the bottom of the ocean by August.

The announcement was made on the Ex-HMAS Tobruk - from Wreck to Reef Facebook page.

It stated two windows of opportunity had been identified for the tow and scuttling of vessel, which will will take place over two days.

Depending on weather and tides, there is a chance the ex-naval ship could be sunk between June 18-24 or July 3-10.

Once decided, there will be a 500m exclusion zone for all unauthorised vessels surrounding the ship.

Ex-HMAS Tobruk From Wreck to Reef.
GOING DOWN: Ex-HMAS Tobruk at the Port of Bundaberg. Mike Knott BUN150917TOBRUK29

In December 2016, Bundaberg claimed victory over other regions including north Tasmania in the race to have Tobruk sunk as a dive wreck.

Once ex-HMAS Tobruk settles on the floor of the ocean it will become a divers' paradise.

Emotions were sky high as thousands of people lined the riverbank to watch her come into the Bundaberg Port on December 14, 2016.

During her time here, there were jobs galore as work was undertaken in preparation for the scuttling.

Locals have shown high interest, with open days selling out, and have been eagerly waiting to hear when the former navy vessel would finally be sunk.

Queensland Parks and Wildlife's Daniel Clifton, who is an experienced diver, spoke with the NewsMail during preparations for the sinking.

Mr Clifton said it was an honour being part of the team.

He said the marine ecosystem would take hold of the ship rapidly and within days would be thriving with sea life.

Ex-HMAS Tobruk at the Bundaberg Port.
GOING DOWN: Ex-HMAS Tobruk at the Port of Bundaberg. Mike Knott BUN200318TOBRUK2

Contractors spent more than a year blazing away on-board ex-HMAS Tobruk as in preparation to sink the bulk carrier.

Diver access holes were cut to create swim-throughs in the vessel, allowing access to the bunks, lower deck quarters and the ship's exterior.

When she reaches the bottom of the ocean, ex-HMAS Tobruk will be unlike any other dive site in Australia.

Regional Dive Wreck Advisory Group co-ordinator Scott Rowe said the vessel will be scuttled off the Bundaberg coast in August if all goes to plan. Mr Rowe said it would be a major drawcard for international tourists, especially when packaged with the ex-HMAS Brisbane wreck at Mooloolaba, on the Sunshine Coast.

He said unlike ex-HMAS Brisbane, which was a frigate, ex-HMAS Tobruk offered larger spaces for divers to explore.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity from a tourism perspective," Mr Rowe said.

Last month Environment and Great Barrier Reef Minister Leeanne Enoch announced at the Bundaberg Port that the four successful operators chosen were spread evenly across the Wide Bay region.

"Lady Musgrave Experience and Bundaberg Aqua Scuba will operate out of Bundaberg, and Dive Hervey Bay and Hervey Bay Dive Centre will be conducting tours out of Hervey Bay," Ms Enoch said.

Safety checks will be conducted after the sinking to ensure the wreck is safe for divers.

ON BOARD Community members tour the ex-HMAS Tobruk
ON BOARD: Community members tour the ex-HMAS Tobruk. Mike Knott