Parks Canada’s Underwater Archaeology Team (UAT) will be returning to the wrecks of the Franklin Expedition in the Kitikmeot this month, announced the federal minister of environment and climate change Steven Guilbeault in Gatineau, Quebec on April 28.
The UAT will be deploying remotely operated vehicles to carry out under-ice inspections of the wrecks as well as the surrounding sea floor with the support of Inuit Guardians, under Environment and Climate Change Canada and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami.
A second trip is planned this summer where the UAT will be undertaking a number of dives to explore and excavate the site. Inuit Guardians will also be assisting here.
“The resumption of research at the sites of the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror represents an important opportunity to continue the investigation of the legendary Franklin story. Working together with our Inuit partners, this research will also further our understanding of how to protect these sites, and the precious environment in which they are located,” said Guilbeault.
The Franklin Interim Advisory Committee is also excited about the news about the UAT resuming research.
“Due to Covid there has been no work performed at the site for the past two years. It will be important to see if any damage has occurred at Erebus as that wreck site was in relatively shallow waters. We are excited to see what Terror may be able to show us as that wreck site was in remarkable shape,” said Fred Pedersen, chair of the Franklin Interim Advisory Committee.
The Expedition, consisting of the HMS Terror and HMS Erebus got stuck in western Nunavut being unable to navigate Arctic waters between 1845 and 1846. The ships were abandoned by 1848, after captain John Franklin and almost two dozens others died. The survivors set out toward the Canadian mainland and have expected to have also died.