Steve Mertl –
A high-profile tug-of-war is underway between Norway and Canada over the sunken hulk of a ship resting on the bottom of a remote Arctic harbour.
This week a Norwegian group will appeal to the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board to overturn an earlier decision denying a permit to raise the remains of the Maud from Cambridge Bay harbour and take it back to Norway.
The three-masted sailing vessel, which sank in 1930, was a storage ship for the Hudson’s Bay Company when years of winter ice finally breached the hull.
But it once belonged to renowned Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, who had it specially built 95 years ago to explore the Arctic and who named it after Norway’s Queen Maud. Jan Wanggaard, spearheading the effort to repatriate the wreck, is scheduled to make his pitch before the board on Thursday.
“It’s very hard to understand or believe that we will not end up getting the possibility to bring the Maud home,” Wanggaard told the Globe and Mail.
“When you look at it in a practical way, everybody agrees that this is the right thing to do.”
However, a Cambridge Bay group wants the wreck, partly visible in the shallow harbour, to stay where it is as a piece of Canadian heritage and tourist attraction for the Nunavut community.