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The Underwater Archaeology Search for Franklin's Lost Vessels: HMS Erebus and HMS Terror National Historic Site

Past Expeditions

2010 Expedition - Partners

Parks Canada Agency

Parks Canada, an agency of the federal government, protects and presents nationally significant examples of Canada's natural and cultural heritage in ways that ensure their ecological and commemorative integrity for present and future generations. Parks Canada's Underwater Archaeology Service (UAS) is a team of seven underwater archaeologists based in Ottawa, Ontario. The team–the only one of its kind in Canada, conducts underwater archaeological projects across the country, mainly at Canada's national historic sites, national marine conservation areas and national parks. It also provides underwater archaeology expertise to various levels of government and to non-government organizations, often working in collaboration with them, as it is the case of the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror expedition. The Parks Canada crew for the expedition will be Ryan Harris, Senior Marine Archaeologist for the UAS and Project Director, and Jonathan Moore, Senior Marine Archaeologist for the UAS. Mr. Harris and Marc-André Bernier, Chief of the UAS, will serve as Parks Canada's principal media contacts for the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror Expedition.

Canadian Coast Guard

The Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) has a long and proud history of service in the Arctic. As early as 1884, government survey expeditions sought a shorter navigational route to Western Canada through Hudson Bay and Strait to meet the needs of a growing economy. Arctic sovereignty patrols began in 1903 with CGS Neptune. Coast Guard has served Arctic Canada for generations. Every year, from late June to early November, the CCG deploys one light, two heavy, and four medium icebreakers to the Arctic. These icebreakers operate in a harsh climate and some of the most challenging sea ice conditions in the world. They are often the first vessels into the Arctic each shipping season and the last to leave. There are also two CCG vessels on the Mackenzie River and Beaufort Sea. The officers and crew of six icebreakers are deployed to the Arctic in summer once southern icebreaking operations are complete. The reassuring and longstanding presence of Coast Guard personnel and assets in the Arctic underscores Canada's national sovereignty and helps keep Arctic waterways open, safe, and clean. The women and men onboard Coast Guard vessels who serve in the Arctic each year have a wealth of knowledge and experience. Many of the Commanding Officers of the icebreakers have more than 20 years of service in the demanding Arctic marine environment. CCG personnel also visit Arctic communities to tap into local and traditional knowledge. Much of the success in delivering Coast Guard programs and services is due to the attention paid to human elements. Many of CCG Arctic activities are delivered in partnership with other federal departments including Parks Canada.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO)

Fisheries and Oceans Canada, a department of the federal government, contributes to providing safe and accessible waterways for Canadians. The Canadian Hydrographic Service (CHS) is a Directorate of DFO's Science Sector and is responsible for charting the navigable waters of Canada to produce nautical charts and other publications that promote safe navigation. CHS has carried out hydrographic surveys in the north dating back to as early as 1910. Surveys, using ice-capable ships and smaller launches deployed from those ships, have been the most common method to collect hydrographic information. Ice camps established in cooperation with Polar Continental Shelf Project in the 1970s and 80s were another means of collecting data in this harsh environment. The CHS Central and Arctic Region has a team of hydrographers that collect and manage hydrographic data to create nautical publications for the Arctic. The search area falls within uncharted waters and the CHS will provide surveying expertise and technology to help map the area of interest and nearby routes for navigational charts. Information gathered during the search will contribute to improving charts of the Canadian Arctic. Andrew Leyzack, Engineering Project Supervisor, will be Hydrographer-in-Charge and scientific authority aboard ship providing liaison with the Commanding Officer for all survey operations. Hydrographic technical support will be provided by multi-disciplinary hydrographers, Glenn Toldi, Glenn Macdonald, and Ryan Battista.

Nunavut Department of Culture, Language, Elders and Youth

The Department of Culture, Language, Elders and Youth's mandate is to preserve and enhance Nunavut's culture, heritage and languages. The department's Culture and Heritage Division is responsible for the management of Nunavut's archaeological heritage. It administers Nunavut's archaeological research permit system, conducts archaeological training and research projects in collaboration with community and land claims agencies, and provides expertise on archaeological matters to government and non-government organizations. In recent years, Dr. Douglas Stenton, Director of the Culture and Heritage Division, assisted by Dr. Robert Park, University of Waterloo, have led investigations on islands near the underwater survey area for sites containing evidence of the Franklin expedition. The Government of Nunavut is also playing a role ensuring continuing liaison with the Inuit people of the Community of Gjoa Haven.

Community of Gjoa Haven

The project appreciates the ongoing support of the community of Gjoa Haven and the Inuit Heritage Trust. In particular, local historian and Franklin researcher Louie Kamookak, who has brought his considerable depth of experience and insight into Inuit traditional knowledge to the search, and to the Gjoa Haven Hamlet Council, who is to be thanked for its kind assistance and hospitality.

British Government (British High Commission)

The British High Commission in Canada works to advance the UK's interests in a safe, just and prosperous world by developing and maintaining a wide range of substantive partnerships with Canada of real value to both countries; developing business between the UK and Canada, and encouraging Canadian companies to invest in the UK and; providing effective and courteous public services.

A 1997 memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Great Britain, as owner of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, and Canada, as the nation in whose waters they are believed to have been lost, assigns control over “site investigation, excavation, or recovery of either of the wrecks or their contents” to Canada, in the event of their discovery.