Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) personnel deployed on Operation NUNALIVUT 2014 have captured exciting new footage of the sunken merchant ship Breadalbane, a National Historic Site of Canada.
Working in conjunction with Parks Canada, the Government of Nunavut, and SeaBotix Inc., the CAF captured footage of the Breadalbane as part of planned dive operations during Operation NUNALIVUT 2014.
The Breadalbane, a three-masted merchant ship, was built in 1843 at Glasgow, Scotland. In 1853, the Breadalbane became trapped in packed ice and eventually sank in the Barrow Strait near Beechey Island, Nunavut, while supplying ships involved in the search for Captain John Franklin’s lost expedition.
With the assistance of Parks Canada’s Underwater Archaeology Service and SeaBotix Inc., clearance divers from the Royal Canadian Navy Fleet Diving Unit (Atlantic) used multiple remotely operated vehicles to capture HD footage of the wreck.
The expertise and technology used by the dive team will provide archaeologists with a wealth of new data that will enable them to gain a better understanding of this historical site. The entire archive of footage and associated data will be shared with, and preserved by the Government of Nunavut and Parks Canada.
Operation NUNALIVUT is an annual premier High Arctic operation that is conducted by Joint Task Force (North), combining Air, Land and Maritime operations to exercise interoperability and Arctic skill-sets. Parks Canada, Natural Resources Canada (Polar Continental Shelf Program), the Government of Nunavut, and SeaBotix Inc. have all been valuable players in this year’s operation.
The CAF have been present in the North for decades, conducting surveillance and sovereignty operations and contributing to a more visible government presence. Then and now, in the context of the Canada First Defence Strategy, the CAF’s primary mission is the protection of Canada, including its most northern regions.
Through Operation NUNALIVUT, the CAF demonstrates its readiness and ability to operate effectively in the challenging Arctic environment.
“Our Government is committed to protecting Canada’s rich natural heritage and historic sites. The footage collected gives us an up-to-date view of an incredible wreck that preserves a moment of time in Canadian history,” said Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, and Minister for the Arctic Council.
Lieutenant-Colonel John St. Dennis, Task Force NUNALIVUT Commanding Officer said: “Operation NUNALIVUT involves the Royal Canadian Navy, the Royal Canadian Air Force and the Canadian Army, as well as our many community, Allied and Governmental partners; it’s a real-life example of how Team North can come together to work successfully in an environment that few have had the privilege to experience. The Whole of Government cooperation required to capture this footage of the Breadalbane is truly commendable.”
“Six days of diving with remotely operated vehicles this year have given us an up-to-date view of an incredible wreck that preserves a moment of time in Canadian history. We’ve learned a huge amount about the wreck during this project, and it’s rare to have such a detailed view of a shipwreck from 1853. We anticipate more discoveries and insights as we pore over the collected information,” added Jonathan Moore, Senior Underwater Archaeologist, Parks Canada.
Press Release, April 28, 2014; Image: Joint Task Force