A shipwreck has been discovered in the waters of Victoria Strait in northern Canada. It has been identified as one of two ships that sailed from the United Kingdom in 1845 as part of the Franklin Expedition, and went missing a year after that. It was a huge mystery as to what happened to the ships. The expedition was led by Sir John Franklin, a British officer, and the mission was to explore and map the Northwest Passage. The ships were very well equipped with food and other essentials to last a few years. There were a total of 134 men on board, and none of them survived. Many people looked for them, but with no success. The ships were trapped in ice in Victoria Strait. Some Canadian researchers and divers have also been looking for the ships in recent times. They used a remotely operated underwater vehicle to track down one of the ships.
The Northwest Passage is a sea route from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean along the northern coast of North America. It is a very attractive passageway as it shortens shipping time between parts of Europe and Asia.
Almost 60 years after the departure of the Franklin Expedition ships, in 1903, the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen became the first to sail through the Northwest Passage. Amundsen went on to discover more on our planet. In 1911, he led a mission to the South Pole and was the first person to reach it. He was also on a plane to first fly over the North Pole in 1926. At the age of 55, Amundsen went on a rescue mission to find a lost friend in the Arctic, and he never came back. It is believed that his plane crashed in the Arctic Ocean. Many search missions have gone out to find his missing plane, but with no luck.
Here is a video about Amundsen’s South Pole journey. Here are videos about the shipwreck that was discovered and how the map changed as the Northwest Passage was explored.
Did you know?
In September 2013, the Danish ship, the Nordic Onion, became the first bulk carrier to transit the Northwest Passage commercially.
Image Credits: Parks Canada for the shipwreck’s image, Ludwik Szacinski for Amundsen’s image
Sources: http://pm.gc.ca, http://www.nansenamundsen.no/en/amundsen/