ONE YEAR ON: Botched scuttling of Tobruk has silver lining
IN THE year since the ex-HMAS Tobruk was scuttled, it has transformed from a naval warship into a major tourism draw-card.
The Fraser Coast's newest dive site got off to a rocky start when the boat sank on its side instead of upright as was intended.
But the botched scuttling might have been a blessing in disguise, according to Fraser Coast Tourism & Events chief executive Martin Simons.
He said the ship offered a more technical dive in some aspects and there were a lot of people looking for the challenge.
"It's one of the few transport warships available to dive," he said. "I don't think it's hampered it at all."
Mr Simons said some momentum had been lost in the time it took to make the ship safe, but said it had built back up.
It took eight months for the first tour groups to visit the sight, but since then hundreds of divers have explored the world-class dive wreck.
Mr Simons said there was two dive operators in Bundaberg and two in Hervey Bay and so far the Tobruk had proved a great success.
"It's growing as an international market and as a domestic market," he said.
Efforts had been made to build awareness of the attraction across several markets, with the Tobruk dive site promoted at events from Asia to Sydney, Mr Simons said.
The Tobruk is anticipated to bring more than $1 million into the economy annually and Mr Simons said plans were afoot to use the wreck to attract as many tourists as possible.
That includes offering people the chance to explore the reef and a wreck - one of the few places in Queensland where that is possible.