Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut May 27, 2012 - 5:30 am

Norwegian firm moves on taking Maud from Nunavut

Two legs of former oil platform to be turned into seaworthy barge

JANE GEORGE
Here you can see the floating pieces from an old offshore oil rig which will eventually be used to haul the [Bay] Maud from Cambridge Bay to Norway. (PHOTO FROM BUDSTIKKA.NO)
Here you can see the floating pieces from an old offshore oil rig which will eventually be used to haul the [Bay] Maud from Cambridge Bay to Norway. (PHOTO FROM BUDSTIKKA.NO)

Work has started on the custom-made barge that will carry the Maud, Norwegian polar explorer Roald Amundsen’s ship, from Nunavut to Norway next summer.

The floating contraption might look like a rusting hulk today, but looks can be deceiving, Jan Wanggaard, the manager of the Maud returns home project told the Norwegian news website budstikka.no.

“It is built of solid iron from an oil drilling platform, and has only a little surface rust. When we have painted it, it will shine like a jewel,” Wanggaard recently said on the website.

The Maud — or the Bay Maud as people in Cambridge Bay better know it — ended up shoaled in the waters outside that community 80 years ago after Amundsen failed to sail it through the ice from Siberia to the Svalbard Islands north of Norway.

Built in 1917 and specially designed for expeditions in polar ice, the Maud weighed 392 tonnes and measured in at 120 feet long (36 metres) and 40 feet (12 m) wide.

Wanggaard checked out the remnants of the ship in Cambridge Bay last August. The ship, now little more than timbers, was “in good shape” for having spent the past 80 years half-immersed in water and ice, he said at the time.

The Tandberg investment firm launched its plan to retrieve the Maud back to Vollen near Asker where they plan, among other things, to build a museum around the hulk. They obtained the export license for Maud from Canadian authorities on March 16.

Canada’s cultural property export review board said in its decision that “the Maud is of outstanding significance to Canada, but that its loss would not significantly diminish the national heritage.”

So, soon parts of the former oil platform, which cost about $80,000, will be refurbished to receive the Maud. Then they’ll be hauled to Cambridge Bay to take the ship back to Norway.

The plan is to travel to Canada next year to get the Maud, Wanggaard said.

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