Shipwrecks and Lost Treasures of the Seven Seas

South Pole

Feds nix export permit for polar explorer Roald Amundsen's ship

By Jane George - Vancouver Sun 


A plan to tow the half-submerged wreck of a ship off the shore of Nunavut's Cambridge Bay back to Norway has hit a wall.

The federal government has turned down a request for an export permit for the Maud, once sailed by Norway's Roald Amundsen, the first European adventurer to travel the Northwest Passage in 1906 and the first person to reach the South Pole, a feat he achieved in December 1911.

Amundsen sailed the Maud on an unsuccessful attempt to sail through the Northeast Passage, then drifted in the ice toward the North Pole.

But bringing the Maud back to Norway is all about the enduring hoopla that surrounds the country's homegrown hero, Amundsen.

And that's why group of Norwegian investors wanted to raise the Maud with balloons, drag the hulk over to a barge and then tow it from Nunavut back to Norway — a 7,000-kilometre journey.

There, the Maud would be exhibited at a futuristic museum in Asker, a suburb of Oslo — where anything to do with Amundsen remains a huge draw.

The reason for the refusal of the permit: a full archeological study must be first be conducted on the wreck — a condition that came as unexpected news to the manager of the project "Maud Returns Home."

"The reason for the refusal is explained as lack of information concerning the extraction of the Baymaud. The Export Examiner states that the ship should not be recovered without adherence to accepted archaeological standards," Jan Wanggaard said Thursday — a day after Norway celebrated the 100th anniversary of Amundsen's arrival at the South Pole.