A submersible robot with crab-like arms has arrived in Brisbane to shed light on the wreck of the Centaur, discovered about 50km off Moreton Island.
The joystick-controlled camera will circle the Centaur and its debris field later this week at a depth of 2000m, transmitting the first images of the hospital ship since it was sunk by a Japanese submarine in 1943.
Then, using manipulative arms, it will place a commemorative plaque honouring the 268 non-combatants killed in Queensland's worst maritime disaster. It will feature personal messages in a CD from family members.
Search director David L. Mearns said he feared the badly damaged Centaur was resting on its side.
A large debris field was not expected, despite Centaur having a torpedo hole large enough to have sunk it in three minutes.
Swift currents at the wreck site will pose a challenge to the search crew, who will be lowering the Remora submersible using up to 7000m of steel cable.