Promising start to Centaur hunt

By Tuck Thompson - Courier Mail


Shipwreck hunters have found a "promising" image about the size of the sunken Australian hospital ship Centaur just two day into their deep-water search.

But they have admitted the seabed east of Moreton Island is so rough they may never find the ship, torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in 1943.

Expedition leader David L Mearns said sonar being towed by the Seahorse Spirit needed to be reexamined.

"The target was very close to directly beneath the sonar towfish where it doesn't perform as well," he said. "Nevertheless the target was about the right shape and size of the Centaur so we definitely have something to look forward."

But searchers also expressed frustration that much of the search area is severe, impenetrable terrain.

"This section of Australia's continental margin is geologically very dynamic with steep canyons carved into the continental slope," Mr Mearns said.

"We have found our search box to be dissected by three large submarine canyons whose walls rise 600 metres or more to exposed rocky cliff tops. The impact of all this geology is that it makes our job of picking out a relatively small shipwreck like the Centaur amongst all the rocks extremely difficult."


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Centaur Australian hospital ship David Mearns Japanese Moreton Island