Not any more

Future of discovered Arctic ship unknown

In Canada on August 4, 2010 at 08:46
The wreck of HMS Investigator, discovered off the coast of Banks Island on July 25, stands upright in about 11 metres of water, with the upper deck under about eight metres of water.The wreck of HMS Investigator, discovered off the coast of Banks Island on July 25, stands upright in about 11 metres of water, with the upper deck under about eight metres of water. (Parks Canada)

Canadian officials have yet to decide what to do with the wreck of HMS Investigator, the 19th-century British naval ship recently discovered in Canadian Arctic waters.

The July 25 discovery of HMS Investigator, resting at the bottom of Mercy Bay in the Northwest Territories, has led some to question whether the shipwreck will eventually be raised.

Parks Canada archeologists were conducting a sonar scan of the bay, which is part of Aulavik National Park, when they discovered the ship upright and in good condition.

But Marc-André Bernier, chief of Parks Canada’s underwater archeology service, said he is not sure if the ship will ever be raised, or what will happen to any artifacts found on board.

The ship originally came from Britain, so “basically we’re looking at a collaborative approach,” Bernier told CBC News.

“There’s possibly ways of having, if artifacts are taken, having them shown in both countries, because it’s a common heritage,” he added. “But those things haven’t been decided yet.”

Should a decision be made to pull HMS Investigator out of the water, Bernier said he does not know how much that kind of endeavour would cost.

Captained by Robert McClure, HMS Investigator was sent in 1850 to search for the ships of another British explorer, Sir John Franklin, after he and his crew disappeared somewhere in the Northwest Passage.

McClure and his 66 crewmen became trapped in the ice at Mercy Bay for more than two years. They were eventually rescued by a Royal Navy sledge team that took them to another ship.

Before leaving their ship, the crew buried much of their provisions on Banks Island.

The location of their cache was known and is also being investigated by an archeological crew that last week found the gravesites of three crewmembers who had died of scurvy in 1853.

via cbc.ca

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