Ottawa to mount search for lost Franklin ships

Sir John Franklin

By John Geiger

Fate of 1845 expedition at center of a geopolitical game as climate change frees Northwest Passage.

Some 163 years after they disappeared into the icy fastness of the Arctic archipelago, Sir John Franklin's ill-fated ships, Erebus and Terror, are once again at the center of a great geopolitical game over claim to the Northwest Passage.

After decades of official indifference to the possibility that new technologies might locate the missing Royal Navy ships, Ottawa is not only mounting a search, reportedly from the Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Amundsen and led by Parks Canada senior underwater archaeologist Robert Grenier, but the Conservative government is investing it with national purpose.

Environment Minister John Baird has scheduled a news conference tomorrow.

The federal government's sudden interest in the Erebus and Terror is intertwined with Canada's attempts to assert sovereignty over its Arctic.

Canadian Arctic Franklin expedition Canadian government British shipwrecks Erebus and Terror