As part of an effort to unlock the secrets of HMS Erebus, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that Parks Canada and Royal Canadian Navy divers will join forces for Operation NUNALIVUT.
The divers will conduct approximately 11 days of intense ice diving and underwater archaeology in April.
The Prime Minister made the announcement at a special event held at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto to celebrate last summer’s discovery of HMS Erebus, one of two ill-fated Franklin Expedition ships lost in 1846.
The Prime Minister represented the Government at the event to receive the Erebus Medal – a one-time honour awarded by The Royal Canadian Geographical Society – for contributions to, and support for, the 2014 Victoria Strait Expedition which led to the discovery of HMS Erebus.
Operation NUNALIVUT allows the Canadian Armed Forces to provide meaningful support to scientific research in the Arctic, and to demonstrate interoperability in the High Arctic with military allies and other Canadian government institutions.
“Operation NUNALIVUT will showcase to the world the extraordinary abilities of Canadian Armed Forces ice divers and Parks Canada’s underwater archaeologists. I wish all participants the best as they embark on winter dives beneath the Arctic ice to learn more about HMS Erebus,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper said.
“Laureen and I are deeply honoured to be among the recipients of the Erebus Medal this evening, which recognizes our commitment to discovering one of our country’s greatest maritime mysteries. This discovery would not have been possible without the incredible efforts of the 2014 Victoria Strait Expedition made up of government, private and non-profit partners, including The Royal Canadian Geographical Society. I had the privilege to take part in the search last summer during my annual northern tour and was impressed by the professionalism and dedication of the searchers plumbing Canada’s frigid northern waters,” he added.
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.