Residents urged to back bid to get ship
By REN LANZONrlanzon@gladstoneobserver.dyndns.org
A BID to bring Gladstone's namesake ship, the HMAS Gladstone, to the city will fail without whole-hearted community support.
Member for Hinkler Paul Neville has made approaches to the Navy and the federal government to have the vessel brought to Gladstone as a museum piece and tourist attraction.
But he said the bid would fail if the community, local authorities, business and industry did not commit themselves to the project.
Mr Neville said the Navy had told him the HMAS Gladstone would be decommissioned in February 2007.
It is one of a number of Fremantle Class patrol boats that have been or will be decomissioned in the next few years. If efforts to bring the 42 metre (138ft) ship to the city succeed, it would ideally be displayed along the Gladstone foreshore at water level.
The Gladstone Maritime History Museum is putting a submission together, which includes a business plan, to set up the vessel as a museum showpiece on public land.
Museum president Ced Janson said getting the vessel would be a huge coup for Gladstone.
He said the museum had a preferred area as to where to put the vessel if Gladstone was successful in attracting it here, but it was still negotiating for the site.
Mr Neville said the Navy had told him that other possible uses for the decommissioned ships was to sell them to other countries as military or police vessels, or to private operators to use them as dive vehicles.