Victoria Strait Expedition
Sir John Franklin’s fabled lost and found vessel
Renowned Canadian Arctic cruise operator, One Ocean Expeditions, is delighted that Sir John Franklin’s fabled lost vessel, HMS Erebus has been found in the Northwest Passage in September 2014. One Ocean Voyager/ Akademik Sergey Vavilov, one of the company’s expedition cruise ships that was offered to the Royal Canadian Geographic Society for the Victoria Strait Expedition 2014, has been cruising the glacial waters with three other research ships operated by the search partners.
The One Ocean Voyager was carrying Parks Canada’s ROV (remote operated vehicle) and their AUV (autonomous underwater vehicle). The AUV has a state-of-the-art sonar system that was deployed in order to scan the seabed in search of the Franklin vessel and was key in this incredible discovery. The HMS Erebus has been resting on the ocean floor for over 160 years.
“This is a great moment for Canada and Canadians. It showcases the tremendous spirit of partnership and Canadian innovation invested in this epic search. It completes an important chapter in our history and solves one of the biggest mysteries in any Polar Region. We at One Ocean Expeditions, are very proud to be a part of an event that re-defined our history”, says Andrew Prossin, Managing Director at One Ocean Expeditions. This unique partnership includes The W. Garfield Weston Foundation, One Ocean Expeditions, Shell Canada and the Arctic Research Foundation.
This project showcases One Ocean Expeditions’ capabilities and experience as a leading Canadian polar operator and a world leader in safe and sustainable polar logistics. Designed for polar exploration, One Ocean Voyager/Akademik Sergey Vavilov combines modern comforts and superb amenities with first-class technical and safety features. “We’ve been supporting and transporting researchers and equipment around the Arctic on countless occasions over the years and this project is the kind of thing we’ve been working towards” said Andrew Prossin, Managing Director One Ocean Expeditions.
The American underwater explorer Dr. Robert Ballard, himself the discoverer of RMS Titanic, described the missing ships as the most important undiscovered wrecks in the world. HMS Erebus and HMS Terror are certainly important to Canada. The loss of the vessels, which were beset in multi-year ice off the northwest coast of King William Island, before being deserted by their crews who subsequently all perished, is a tale of momentous drama that has long captured the imagination of Canadians for whom the North is a key part of our national identity and culture. More than that, however, it instigated a massive search, the product of which was the charting of much of the Arctic Archipelago. Canada’s claim to sovereignty over its Arctic islands can be traced in large measure to the significant geographical advances of the Franklin search era. The significance of those lost ships to Canada is further reflected in the fact that they have been declared a National Historic Site.
The Northwest Passage itinerary has always been a bestseller for One Ocean Expeditions. With this new development, there has been an increased interest in consumer awareness and interest in the region. One Ocean Expeditions will operate an expanded Canadian Arctic program for future seasons.