Fisherman Jake Cannon says the wreck of the Centaur could rest east-south-east of Cape Moreton lighthouse.
Fisherman Jake Cannon says the wreck of the Centaur could rest east-south-east of Cape Moreton lighthouse. Brett Wortman

Centaur hunted in Tweed waters

A SHIP departed from Sydney late Saturday night on a mission to find sunken World War II hospital ship Centaur.

The Seahorse Spirit, left Sydney about midnight, carrying scientists and explorers led by shipwreck hunter David Mearns.

They are armed with millions of dollars worth of equipment, which successfully found the HMAS Sydney off Western Australia earlier this year.

Tweed Heads was the last port the Centaur passed before it was sunk by a Japanese submarine in May 1943, despite being clearly marked as a hospital ship.

The Seahorse Spirit could pass the Tweed at any moment. Yesterday afternoon Point Danger VMR said it had not yet been spotted.

The ship will spend a maximum of 35 days at sea searching an area 59km wide, 30km east of Moreton Island.

The team may be able to shorten its search if it follows the advice of Sunshine Coast fisherman Jake Cannon.

Mr Cannon, 64, who has been prawn trawling since he was 14, said certain experienced fishermen on the Sunshine Coast now avoided “an area east-south-east” of Cape Moreton lighthouse because they feared catching their nets on the deep sea wreckage.

“I remember one night, about 35 years ago when I was at sea on The Driftwood, when the Wooli Star got into trouble in that area,” he said.

“The trawler was in 98 to 100 fathoms of water when its nets got caught.

The Tweed has a special relationship with the Centaur, with a Banora Point School named in its honour.

Tweed Historian Warren Keats headed the Centaur Commemorative Committee which established a memorial to the ship and its passengers at Point Danger in 1993.

In May 1943, 268 non-combatants died when the Centaur was torpedoed.



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