The 120-year-old sailing ship Defender sank in Townsville

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The legendary Tasmanian ketch Defender sank at a berth in Townsville, Australia. The ship's hull was completely submerged in water, with only the masts remaining on the surface.

The 35-metre historic vessel had been berthed on the Ross Creek for the past seven years after a fire broke out in the engine room.

«We suspect it was an act of vandalism," said shipowner Les Dick. - We won't know for sure until we get the boat up but there is some talk among the locals right now». Les Dick plans to pump water out of the vessel's hull during low tide this week and put it on the water, then move it to another location to assess the damage.

The Defender is a one-of-a-kind sailing ship, built in 1895 and used as a merchant ship to transport goods between the colonies. In 1923, the ship made history for her record crossing of the Bass Strait. During World War II it was used to transport troops and cargo. Le Dick bought Defender in 1982 and used donations from Tasmanians to rebuild her for the bicentenary of the big sailing race from Hobart to Sydney. Before the engine room fire, after which the ship settled in Townsville, Defender was used as a charter vessel in the Whitsundays.

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