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Prime Minister praises Squamish company

One Ocean Expeditions played key role in discovering HMS Erebus
One Ocean Expeditions, a tour company based in Squamish, played a key role in finding the HMS Erebus (pictured here) in shallow water off Adelaide Peninsula in Canada’s Arctic.

Prime Minister Steven Harper’s dream of solving a mystery that dates back to 1846 is coming true and its thanks in part to One Ocean Expeditions (OOE).

Harper announced on Oct. 1 that the sunken Franklin Expedition ship discovered this summer in the Arctic was Her Majesty’s Ship Erebus. The company based in Squamish played a key role in finding HMS Erebus as part of a group effort that included the government of Canada, the government of Nunavut, Great Britain, the Royal Canadian Geographical Society and the Arctic Research Foundation.

“I would like to congratulate and pay tribute to all those involved in locating and identifying HMS Erebus,” wrote Prime Minister Harper in a news release. “I had the privilege of witnessing the remarkable dedication and skills of the search team first-hand during this year’s Northern Tour and it has left a lasting impression. I wish them well in their search for HMS Terror.”

According to historical records, John Franklin was reportedly on Erebus during his efforts to find a northwest passage to connect the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. The leader of the expedition reportedly died aboard his ship. There’s some speculation that his body may be inside the old wreck, which is sitting in just 11 metres (36 feet) of water.

The scientists involved in the search effort determined on Sept. 30 that the evidence collected this summer confirms the ship discovered on the sea floor back on Sept. 7 was the Erebus.

Andrew Prossin, the principal owner of OOE, is happy to be involved in the efforts to find the two ancient ships.

“It feels wonderful to do something great for your country and succeed,” said Prossin in an interview from Ottawa.

OOE contributed one of its ships to the effort. The Ocean Voyager crew helped transport some of the key equipment needed in the search effort.

OOE is a tourist operation that takes customers to the Arctic in our summer months and to the Antarctic in our winter months on two former Russian research vessels. Prossin said he is looking forward to next summer when an effort to find HMS Terror is expected to be launched. The company is making plans to return to the spot where Erebus was located in the eastern stretches of the Queen Maud Gulf off the western coast of the Adelaide Peninsula.

Meanwhile, the Erebus is expected to provide us with a glimpse back in time.

“Think of the opportunities this is going to provide students and teachers across Canada and around the world,” Prossin said of the work done this summer to find Erebus.

Early discussions about future expeditions back to the area where Erebus was found are underway, said Prossin.

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