Date
21 September 2017
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper views an image of the ship. His government undertook the search for the two explorer vessels which disappeared in the Arctic in the 1840s. Photo: Daily News
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper views an image of the ship. His government undertook the search for the two explorer vessels which disappeared in the Arctic in the 1840s. Photo: Daily News

Canada finds lost Arctic explorer ship after 170 years

A British explorer ship, one of two that disappeared in the Arctic nearly 170 years ago, has been found, according to the Daily News.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper made the announcement Wednesday but it remains unclear which ship has been found.

In 2008, Canada announced the search for the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, last seen in the 1840s, with British Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin aboard one of them.

Franklin and 128 handpicked officers and men vanished in 1846 while looking for the fabled Northwest Passage.

Franklin’s disappearance prompted one of history’s largest and longest rescue searches, from 1848 to 1859, which resulted in the passage’s long-sought discovery, the report said.

The passage runs from the Atlantic to the Pacific through the Arctic archipelago. European explorers sought the passage as a shorter route to Asia, but found it rendered inhospitable by ice and weather.

Harper’s government made the search for Franklin’s ships a priority as it looked to assert Canada’s sovereignty over the Northwest Passage, where melting Arctic ice has unlocked the very shipping route Franklin was after.

Dozens of searches for the ships helped open up parts of the Canadian Arctic for discovery in the 1800s.

Harper said the ship was found Sunday using a remotely operated underwater vehicle. They found the wreck 11 meters below the water’s surface.

The ship appears to be well-preserved, the report said.

Ryan Harris, a senior underwater archaeologist and one of the people leading the Parks Canada search, said a sonar image shows some of the deck structures are still intact, including the main mast, which was sheared off by the ice when the ship sank.

He said the contents of the ship are most likely in the same good condition.

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