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The location for this cache will have you standing outside former BP Western Port Refinery, main administration building. Now used as the home of the Western Port Oberon Association (WPOA).
Log is made with write in the rain paper which doesn't require it to be put in a plastic bag. Please bring your own writing implement.
HMAS Otama (SS 72/SSG 72) was an Oberon class submarine of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). Built in Scotland, the submarine was commissioned into the RAN in 1978. Otama remained in service until late 2000, when she was decommissioned and sold to Western Port Oberon Association, a Victorian community group, who planned to preserve the submarine as a museum ship.
However, permission to build an information centre to moor the submarine at Hastings was repeatedly denied by the local council, and Otama was listed on eBay in late 2008. Although the submarine was not sold, several expressions of interest were made, including one by a group believed to be interested in restoring Otama for use as a drug-smuggling submarine.
Otama was laid down by Scotts Shipbuilding and Engineering Company at Greenock, Scotland on 25 May 1973, launched on 3 December 1975, and commissioned into the RAN on 27 April 1978. Otama was the sixth and final Oberon class submarine to enter service with the RAN.
On 8 September 1980, Otama joined five other RAN vessels to form the Australia Squadron. The Squadron, which included HMA Ships Melbourne, Perth, Derwent, Stalwart, and Supply spent two months in the Indian Ocean as part of a flag-showing cruise; the largest RAN deployment since World War II.
Otama was involved in an incident on Monday 3 August 1987 which resulted in the deaths of two crew members. At 0900 hours Otama left HMAS Platypus, the RAN submarine base in Sydney Harbour, on an exercise to stream SESTAS - a towed array hydrophone system only recently installed. Owing to bad weather, the exercise was cancelled. Two crew members were tasked to secure the system by hand, and went aloft via the conning tower and entered the submarine's fin. At 1035 personnel on the conning tower bridge were ordered below and the submarine subsequently dived at 1039, leaving the two crew members working in the fin outside. Their absence from their normal diving stations was not noticed prior to diving, nor was their absence noticed in post-diving checks. The boat's coxswain became curious as to their whereabouts at about 1100, but it was not until the submarine had been underwater for an hour that it was realised the two crew members had been outside in the fin at the time of diving. A subsequent coronial inquiry found that the two men had scrambled from the fin to the bridge and had attempted to contact the crew inside the submarine before being lost. Their bodies were not recovered, although one body was sighted during a search but was not able to be retrieved due to the adverse weather and sea conditions.
Otama paid off on 15 December 2000: problems with the introduction of the Collins-class submarines kept Otama and sister boat Onslow in service for several years beyond their planned decommissioning date.
The submarine was sold in 2001 to the Western Port Oberon Association, a community group with the intention of preserving her as a museum ship in Hastings, Victoria, for AU$50,000. Otama was towed to Western Port Bay in 2002, where she was to wait until the Shire of Mornington Peninsula council approved plans to construct a purpose-built tourism and information centre, where the submarine would be docked. However, the council knocked these plans back on three separate occasions, each at a different location. In late 2008, the submarine was listed for sale on eBay, as the group could no longer afford to maintain Otama while waiting for council approval.
The submarine was not sold, but several expressions of interest were made; among these, the owners received enquires about the possibility of restoring the submarine to operational condition. Although claiming to be a tourism operator, Otama's owners believed that the enquirer wanted to use the submarine for drug smuggling, and advised the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation.
Otama currently is being left to rust away in Western Port Bay, you might even be able to see her through the trees. Please Save Our Sub - Lest We Forget
(No hints available.)
- EX HMAS OtamaEX HMAS Otama resting in Western Port Bay awaiting her fate
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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum