A dedicated scuba diver, marine-biology educator and environmental campaigner from Victoria in south-eastern Australia has died while on a local recreational dive.
Trent Williams, 47, lived in Mount Martha on the east side of Port Philip Bay near the state capital, Melbourne. The father-of-three had been out with charter-boat operator Redboats, diving about 4km from the entrance to the bay on the morning of 9 April.
Emergency services responded to reports that a diver was in difficulties. Williams was recovered from the sea and brought ashore, but attempts to resuscitate him proved unsuccessful.
Since 2013 Williams had worked as a volunteer with Sea Shepherd Australia, crewing on the eco-activists’ vessels during anti-whaling campaigns in both Japan and the Faroe Islands.
As one of the organisation’s marine debris co-ordinators, he led teams on regular beach and seabed clean-ups, while as part of its education team he would give presentations on the marine environment, particularly that around Port Philip Bay, to schools, community and business groups in Victoria.
Williams had presented evidence of the damaging effects of plastics to a parliamentary committee during a campaign to ban plastic bags in the state. Recently he had been a leading figure in a campaign to save the historic Flinders Pier from threatened demolition.
“Trent passed away unexpectedly doing what he loved most: diving,” wrote Flinders Community Association chair Charles Reis, adding that both the association and the Save Flinders Pier campaign had “lost a dedicated, visionary and dynamic community leader, the likes of which are so rare”.
Earlier this year Williams had fulfilled a long-held ambition when he had been accepted by the University of Tasmania to study Antarctic and marine climate science.
Police said that an investigation of the fatal incident involving WorkSafe Victoria (health & safety body) was underway, and that a coroner’s report would be produced.