In rememberance ... local members of the Coffs District Ex Naval and Mariners Association and (inset) HMAS Melbourne, ?the kill
In rememberance ... local members of the Coffs District Ex Naval and Mariners Association and (inset) HMAS Melbourne, ?the kill

Our worst Navaldisaster recalled

By CLEO SRIBER

IT WAS 42 years yesterday since the worst peacetime naval disaster in Australia's maritime history.

A small group of men gathered at the Coffs Harbour Ex-Services Club Cenotaph to honour the lives of the men lost in the disaster.

President of the Coffs District Ex Naval and Marines Association, Bob Spago, led the ceremony.

At approximately 11pm on the night of February 10, 1964, the HMAS Voyager was involved in a collision with the HMAS Melbourne, flagship of the Royal Australian Navy, in a training exercise off the coast of Jervis Bay, south of Sydney.

Eighty-two men died in the night.

The Voyager was run down by the Melbourne when it turned off course and into the path of the carrier. Both ships were blacked out for night flying exercises when they collided, about 20 miles of the Jervis Bay naval base.

The Voyager was cut in half and the forward section sank almost immediately, taking many crewmen down with her trapped below deck.

The accident has caused much controversy over the years, especially around compensation issues.

Two Royal commissions into the disaster failed to bring answers, with members of parliament and Navy and defense department officials allegedlt misleading the Australian public and withholding evidence to the commissions. Some survivors are still fighting for what they believe is their justice.



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