For decades, Canada has been gripped by the mystery of the missing Franklin ships. This year, the Royal Canadian Geographical Society will be travelling to the Victoria Strait to help continue the search. This RCGS Flag Expedition marks the beginning of an unprecedented partnership between the Society, the Government of Canada and numerous other private parties. Below is the government's official news release.
OTTAWA, June 20, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - This summer, the Government of Canada and an unprecedented number of organizations from the public, private and non-profit sectors will partner together, using state-of-the-art technology, to locate the historic ships of the ill-fated 1845 Franklin Expedition.
The 2014 Franklin Expedition will also have the added benefit of furthering our knowledge in a number of priority areas, including through the collection of important scientific information about Canada's most remote region.
The story of the North is the story of Canada. This year's expedition in the Victoria Strait supports the Government's 2013 Speech from the Throne commitment to tell this story and work with renewed determination and an expanded team of partners to discover the fate of Sir John Franklin's lost Arctic expedition.
Through the pursuit of common interests in the Arctic, the multi-partner collaboration will advance goals in the following key areas:
Story of Canada: Canadians are northern people and our history is intrinsically tied to being part of a northern country. In order to tell that story for Canada's 150th year, the Government is continuing its efforts to solve one of the most enduring mysteries of our past.
Safety and security: A vast and remote region with a harsh climate, Canada's Arctic is both hazardous and fragile. Through seabed mapping and other research, this summer's expedition will contribute to making Canada's Arctic both safer and more secure.
Arctic research and technology: Canada continues to showcase its innovation and develop the tools, techniques and capacity needed to gather, interpret and apply knowledge about the Arctic.
Supporting Arctic communities: Supporting our Arctic communities requires broad collaboration. Many of this summer's projects will celebrate northern history and culture, and contribute to the sustainability of northern communities.
Government partners for the 2014 Victoria Strait expedition include Parks Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Canadian Coast Guard, the Royal Canadian Navy, Defence Research & Development Canada (DRDC) (an agency of the Department of National Defence), Environment Canada, and the Canadian Space Agency, as well as the Governments of Nunavut and Great Britain.
Private and non-profit partners include the Arctic Research Foundation, the Royal Canadian Geographical Society who additionally brings in The W. Garfield Weston Foundation, Shell Canada and One Ocean Expeditions as partners.
There will be a record number of ships (4) supporting the 2014 Victoria Strait Expedition: CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier (Canadian Coast Guard), HMCS Kingston (Royal Canadian Navy), research vessel Martin Bergmann (Arctic Research Foundation) and One Ocean Voyager (One Ocean Expeditions), as well as a number of smaller platform vessels.
Some of the leading technologies to be employed will include the Canadian Space Agency's RADARSAT-2 satellite imagery, high resolution multi-beam and side-scan sonar, Parks Canada's remotely operated underwater vehicle, and DRDC's state-of-the-art autonomous underwater vehicle, which was developed in collaboration with private-sector partners.
This year marks 50 years of outstanding accomplishments in underwater archaeology at Parks Canada.
Since 2008, over 1,200 km2 of the Arctic seabed, which is equivalent to over 2,200 football fields, has been newly surveyed and charted in the search for the Franklin ships.
In 2012, the Canadian Hydrographic Service, with the support of the Canadian Coast Guard, completed new surveys of a route farther south into Alexandra Strait, constituting an alternate route around King William Island and has improved marine safety, search and rescue response time, and fuel economization.
The full release, including background information can be found here.