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Vandalism suspected as historic tall ship sinks at dock

A 120-year-old sailing ship sank at its moorings in north Queensland, Australia. TheDefender sank in Townsville.

People arriving to work in Townsville this morning were surprised to find the 115-foot ship submerged at a wharf on Ross Creek in the city's CBD.

The hull of the vessel was completely submerged, while its rigging remained above the water.

Ship owner Les Dick, who is based in Tasmania, said it had been "gut wrenching" to hear the news this morning.

"We do suspect it's been an act of vandalism or such leading to the sinking of the vessel," Dick told ABC News. "We won't know until we refloat the boat ... but at the moment that's what the people up there are saying."

The Defender was built in 1895 and used as a trading vessel between the colonies.

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