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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Australian hospital ship Centaur wreck found off Moreton Island

A MEMORIAL service will be held early next year for the 268 Australians who lost their lives when hospital ship Centaur sunk in 1943. The wreck was found today. 

THE wreck of the hospital ship Centaur has been found off Moreton Island. 
Five high-resolution sonar shots of the area, taken overnight, confirmed to searchers the ship was resting 2059m below about 30 miles due east of Moreton Islands’ southern tip.

Premier Anna Bligh said she would work with the RSL for a memorial service for the victims early next year, while an exclusion zone will be created around the site.

"The exact location can now be marked and an exclusion zone created, on this very significant gravesite,'' she said.

"In early January, the search team will return to the site with specially designed submarines, these will be equipped with high definition cameras and the entire site will be filmed.

"Once we have been through the entire search process we will then embark on an appropriate way of preserving the marking the site.''

Ms Bligh said nothing will be brought up from the ship, which will be left intact at its resting place.

She said the Centaur was broken two-thirds of the way along the side of the ship, where it was hit by the torpedo.

"I understand from the searchers this morning that this ship was torpedoed, it was a hospital ship, clearly marked, and those who lost their lives on it were mostly civilians,'' Ms Bligh said.

Of the 332 people on board the ship when it sank, only 64 survived.

The search was jointly funded by the state and federal government, at a cost of $4 million.

Ms Gillard said the discovery would ensure all Australians knew and commemorated the 268 nurses and crew who died.(Orignal News)
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