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Melbourne Weekly Bayside

20 August 2012

Cerberus safety concerns in spotlight

BY LISA HIGGINSON LHIGGINSON@FAIRFAXMEDIA.COM.AU

A RISK assessment is being carried out on the HMVS Cerberus to help find ways of reinforcing the public exclusion zone around the historic vessel.

Concern is growing about the safety of swimmers and divers who ignore signage and access the Cerberus, which is located about 100 metres off-shore from Half Moon Bay in Black Rock.

The vessel's deteriorating state and its proximity to a busy beach have spurred Bayside council to seek a permit from Heritage Victoria to have it stabilised through internal and temporary external bracing on the grounds of public safety.

The council wants the work to be financed by a $500,000 federal government grant, which has been earmarked for funding an on-shore display and a corrosion suppression system despite being originally intended for restoration work.

Bayside council's acting director of city strategy Stephen Thorpe said risk management was the highest priority.

"This is important to protect public safety while longer term measures for the preservation of the Cerberus are planned and implemented," he said.

The risk assessment is being carried out with the involvement of the National Trust, Heritage Victoria, Parks Victoria, the Department of Sustainability and Environment and the Friends of the Cerberus.

Mr Thorpe said the council wanted a collaborative approach from all levels of government to ensure the vessel's heritage is preserved.

Friends of the Cerberus president John Rogers said it was vital to carry out bracing works to protect the heritage of the vessel.

"Our goal of saving the Cerberus coincides with the council's goal of protecting public safety and there is this grant available but we are not allowed to use it for this work."

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