In 1845, two British Royal Navy ships of Sir John Franklin named HMS Erebus and HMS Terror with 129 men on-board set out on an expedition to discover the Northwest Passage but vanished without a trace amidst the Canadian Arctic around April 1848. Having been stuck in the icy field the crews that survived decided to abandon the ship instead of starving themselves while waiting for an unsure rescue.
More than a century later, evidences are being found such as scribbled notes, silver spoons and even buried corpses which many believed may have originated from the wreckage. Despite the hostility of the environment there were several search efforts made by Russia, UK and US in the past but did not result to any concrete findings of the historical relic.
This leads to Parks Canada, an agency responsible for the country’s natural heritage, to conduct a mission to survey the Canadian Arctic in search for the two lost ships this coming August when the environment is the least frozen.
The convoy will consist of ships Wilfrid Laurier, HMCS Kingston, Martin Bergmann and One Ocean Voyager which will survey the vast and chilly ocean floor. These four vessels will be escorted by unmanned submarines and a chopper equipped with a high-tech sonar. The expedition will be sponsored by private sectors such as Research In Motion’s Jim Balsillie who volunteered to personally join the exploration.
Sonar technology and navy’s newest AUV will be used to survey the bottom of the arctic seabed and the information gathered will be consolidated by the ships’ computers. The exploration will not be easy considering the number of failed attempts in the past. However, with these state of the art equipments, the search for the lost ships will be given a tremendous boost.