Maud Prepared for Return to Norway
The famed polar ship Maud was raised from the seabed in Cambridge Bay, Canada, over summer and is now being readied for the journey home to Norway.
Maud, named for Queen Maud of Norway, was a ship built for Roald Amundsen for his second expedition to the Arctic.
Maud was launched in June 1916, and in the summer of 1918, Amundsen departed from Norway. His ambition was to sail into the high north and deliberately get stuck in the ice and then function as a floating scientific research station as well as trying to drift across the North Pole. Maud spent several years in the Arctic ice without reaching the North Pole, but the years spent in ice contributed to invaluable scientific research about the Arctic.
After two winters and three summers in the Northeast Passage, the Maud expedition arrived at Nome, Alaska, in July 1920. A new attempt to sail further north from the Bering Strait resulted in yet another wintering in the ice without the Maud having reached far enough north into the east-west current. She returned to Seattle in August 1921 where Amundsen left the expedition.
The Maud expedition continued for three more years under the command of Oscar Wisting, still without reaching the current across the Arctic Ocean. When they again arrived at Nome in August 1925, they were met by creditors whom Amundsen was unable to pay. Wisting managed to get the ship away, but when they arrived in Seattle in October 1925 the ship was again seized by creditors. Maud was sold to Hudson Bay Company and ended up as a floating warehouse and a wireless radio station. The ship sunk in its mooring in 1931.
Maud Returns Home is an initiative to bring the remains of Maud back to Norway where she was built nearly 100 years ago. "She came, slowly, with grace, just like a Queen would," said project manager Jan Wanggaard. "The Maud expedition story, and the story of Amundsen himself, is powerful and full of endless tales about human beings with strong will and courage to push limits and explore the mysteries of life and nature," he said.
Tons of mud have now been dug out from every room so that she can be towed out next summer. A Maud Museum in Vollen will present the remains of the ship. The towing distance from Cambridge Bay in Canada to Vollen in Norway is estimated to approximately 3,700 nautical miles, which at an average speed of five knots will be a journey of 30 days duration.
The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.