TV One, New Zealand, Nov 13, 2005
sinking of the HMNZS Wellington off the capital's coast has gone without hitch,
in front of an audience of thousands.
coast was filled with sightseers and Island Bay swarmed with boats watching the
Deafening cannons on shore were followed by a series
of explosions on the 113 metre vessel, now known simply as F69.
organisers were worried 40 knot winds might turn the vessel on its side, but the
scuttling went according to plan, taking under two minutes for the frigate to
sink 26 metres to the sea bed.
F69 spent 36 years' in the
service of the Royal Navy and the Royal New Zealand Navy.
was launched by the Royal Navy in 1969 as HMS Bacchante and then in 1983 transferred
to the Royal New Zealand Navy which renamed it HMNZS Wellington.
F69 Trust chair Marco Zeeman said the Wellington's last voyage took two hours
on Sunday morning, when it was towed by two tugs from its berth at the Taranaki
wharf outside Te Papa.
The scuttling was originally to take
place on Saturday afternoon, but bad weather forced organisers to postpone it
for 24 hours.
A protest group took advantage of the scuttling
to voice its concerns over plans to sell coastal land near the site of the sinking.
Southern Environmental Association wants to stop Wellington City Council selling
part of the southern coastal park.
Spokesperson Robert Logan
says with attractions such as the frigate adding to the area's appeal, it would
be wrong to privatise the land. He says the council needs to ensure the land stays
in public hands so it may be used by visitors and tourists visiting the south
The vessel, which will become an artificial marine
reef and dive attraction, will now be checked by police divers before being opened
to public divers.
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