Maritime news archive, 2012
Successful prosecution for illegal entry into protected zone around SS Florence D | 20 November
Last month, Mr Benjamin Weedon pleaded guilty in the Darwin's Magistrates Court to fishing without a permit over the shipwreck site of the SS Florence D off Bathurst Island. Mr Weedon received a conviction and $500 fine for offences related to the Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976.
As a declared historic shipwreck a permit from the federal environment department is required to enter the shipwreck's protection zone.
The location of the shipwreck of the SS Florence D was discovered in 2008. As a merchant ship the SS Florence D was carrying ammunition and supplies to US General MacArthur's beleaguered garrison in the Philippines during the Second World War when it was bombed by the Japanese on 19 February 1942. The site is a maritime military grave.
Australia protects US warships lost in the Battle of the Coral Sea | 7 May
USS Lexington off San Diego, California, October 1941
On the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea the Hon Tony Burke Minister for Heritage today declared USS Lexington, USS Sims and USS Neosho as historic shipwrecks under the Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976.
This declaration recognises these shipwrecks are a tangible link to one of the most dramatic events in Australian and US military history and to one of the most defining moments of World War Two. Protection under the Act will ensure that this remarkable legacy is forever protected by Australian law.
Find out more about the War in the Pacific and the Battle of the Coral Sea.
- Friends across the Pacific: Shared WWII maritime heritage of Australia and the United States (PDF - 1.38MB) | (Word - 991 KB)
- United States shipwrecks from Battle of the Coral Sea now protected under Australian law - 7 May 2012
Australian National Shipwreck Database
US Ambassador presents recovered historic shipwreck artefact to new Defence of Darwin Museum | 18 February
On the 70th anniversary of the bombing of Darwin, an anti-aircraft shell that was illegally taken from the SS Florence D (1942) shipwreck in 2011 and recovered following an investigation by the Commonwealth in cooperation with Northern Territory Heritage Branch authorities, has been presented to the new Defence of Darwin Museum by the United States Ambassador Jeffrey Bleich.
Discovery of the historic shipwreck Royal Charlotte | 20 January
A joint research team from the Australian National Maritime Museum and the Silentworld Foundation have announced the discovery of remains of the historic shipwreck Royal Charlotte on Frederick Reef in the Coral Sea. This vessel was wrecked while transporting British soldiers in June 1825.
After bringing convicts to Australia, the Royal Charlotte was contracted by the New South Wales Government to transport British troops from the 20th, 41st and 49th Regiments and their families to India. After leaving Sydney the vessel encountered fierce storms in the Coral Sea and ran aground on Frederick Reef on the morning of 20 June 1825.
Miraculously the ship did not immediately break up, and provided shelter for the passengers and crew until they were rescued on the 30 June by the Brig Amity, which had been dispatched from Moreton Bay. Only one soldier and a child perished on the wreck out of complement of about 100 passengers and crew.
The Royal Charlotte is a significant part of Australia's heritage because of its association with the transportation of convicts to Australia and as one of a small group of early British ships that were built in India using local materials and artisans. These vessels were primarily used in the early trade between Australia, Batavia (Jakarta) and India.
More information on the Royal Charlotte can be found in the Australian National Shipwrecks Database at: https://apps5a.ris.environment.gov.au/shipwreck/public/wreck/wreck.do?key=3077
This project was being conducted in consultation with the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, which issued permits for the work to be undertaken.
The Royal Charlotte is one of about 130 historic shipwrecks known to have been lost in the Coral Sea that are protected under the Commonwealth Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976. All shipwrecks and associated relics at least 75 years old are automatically protected under the legislation, but many like the Royal Charlotte are waiting to be discovered.
Members of the public or businesses can report the discovery of a shipwreck or insitu underwater relic online at the following web address: https://apps5a.ris.environment.gov.au/shipwreck/public/forms/notification.do?mode=add
Korean nationals fined for entering SS Yongala shipwreck | 6 January
Two South Korean nationals received fines after pleading guilty in the Townsville Magistrates Court to charges related to offences under the Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976.