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Discovered Franklin Expedition Ship Identified

By MarEx 2014-10-02 10:07:00

Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Wednesday announced that the Franklin Expedition ship discovered in early September by the 2014 Victoria Strait Expedition is Her Majesty’s Ship (HMS) Erebus. Sir John Franklin, who was in command of the Franklin Expedition, sailed on HMS Erebus. 

The confirmation was made by Parks Canada underwater archaeologists, following a meticulous review of data and artifacts observed from the Arctic Ocean’s seabed and using high-resolution photography, high-definition video and multi-beam sonar measurements.

This announcement comes just three weeks after remains of the ship were found in the eastern stretches of the Queen Maud Gulf off the western coast of the Adelaide Peninsula.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said: “I am pleased to announce today that the Franklin Expedition ship located by the Victoria Strait Expedition in September has been identified as HMS Erebus. The locating and identifying of this ship goes a long way to solving one of Canada’s greatest historical mysteries. I would like to congratulate and pay tribute to all those involved in locating and identifying HMS Erebus. I had the privilege of witnessing the remarkable dedication and skills of the search team first-hand during this year’s Northern Tour and it has left a lasting impression. I wish them well in their search for HMS Terror.” 

Quick Facts

The Government of Canada’s partners for the 2014 Victoria Strait Expedition included Parks Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Canadian Coast Guard, the Royal Canadian Navy, Defence Research and Development Canada, Environment Canada, and the Canadian Space Agency, as well as the Governments of Nunavut and Great Britain.

Private and non-profit partners included the Arctic Research Foundation, the Royal Canadian Geographical Society who additionally brought in The W. Garfield Weston Foundation, Shell Canada and One Ocean Expeditions as partners.

Since 2008, there have been six major Parks Canada-led searches for the lost Franklin Expedition ships, painstakingly covering many hundreds of square kilometers of the Arctic seabed.

The initial discovery of a ship belonging to the Franklin Expedition, made by side-scan sonar towed from the Parks Canada research vessel Investigator, was confirmed on September 7, 2014, using Parks Canada’s remotely operated vehicle.

On September 30, 2014, it was confirmed that the ship is HMS Erebus.

HMS Erebus was a Hecla-class bomb vessel constructed in 1826.

The vessel was named after the dark region in Hades of Greek mythology called Erebus.

HMS Erebus and HMS Terror were outfitted with steam engines (converted from railway locomotive engines), and had iron plating added to their hulls.