Ashtead Supports Survey of HMAS Sydney

An Aberdeen based Ashtead Technology has donated subsea equipment to help discover what caused the loss of 645 crewmen when the HMAS Sydney sunk on November 19, 1941, during Second World War.

The vessel had gone missing following a battle with the German cruiser Kormoran, which also sank.

The final resting place of the HMAS Sydney was discovered in 2008 off the West Australian coast at a depth of 2000 metres.

Ashtead became involved after being approached by DOF Subsea on behalf of the Western Australia Museum which has been working with Curtin University.

The technology provided by Ashtead included an iXsea ROVINS System, Valeport BFM 803 Current Meter, Valeport MIDAS CTD, Valeport MIDAS BathyPack 3000m, Tritech PA500 Bathy Altimeter, Teledyne Blueview P900-130, and a PMAC CPacq single cell system.

The survey work was able to show the ship had a 15-centimetre shell hole through the compass platform at the bridge. The damage would have disabled the control systems and meant the HMAS Sydney would subsequently struggle to defend itself.

Investigators are now assessing how the vessel has corroded and ways that it can be conserved, the company informed.

Wendy Lee, regional manager of Ashtead Technology’s Singapore office, said: “The mystery of what happened to the HMAS Sydney has been a puzzle that led to many different theories over the years. I am glad we could help the families and descendants of those who died on that day to learn just what happened.

“The technology we supplied played a key role in surveying the wreck, establishing the state it is in and what the sea conditions are around it. This is work we are well used to at Ashtead through our support for the offshore industry and the systems used have meant those investigating what happened to the vessel have been able to build up an accurate current picture of the HMAS Sydney and its past.”

The survey work on the HMAS Sydney was done from the outside of the vessel to protect the integrity of the grave site.

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