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August 2003 Vol. 18, No. 8   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Aussies Mean Business

from the August, 2003 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

An American diver from Tarrytown, N.Y., has been fined $1,350 US after pleading guilty to penetrating the wreck of the Yongala off Townsville, Queensland. Edward Antonovich, 33, is the first person to be charged and convicted under Australia's Historic Shipwrecks Act, which was designed to keep divers -- and their corrosive air bubbles -- out of historic wrecks.

The Yongala sank in 1911, after it was last spotted by a lighthouse operator heading into the eye of a cyclone. All 125 people aboard were killed. The Yongala is not only designated as an historic shipwreck, but also a gravesite. Today, it is one of the world's fishiest dive sites. With the top of the ship about 40 feet below the surface, it's beautifully covered with colorful coral and very popular with divers, who may swim around the wreck, but not in it.

The wreck is patrolled by authorities, who arrested Antonovich on June 26, after he returned from his dive at the. He posted $564 bail and was required to turn over his passport and remain in Australia until his trial, which occurred July 8.

Antonovich could have been given two years in prison.

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