Plans to bring Amundsen’s Maud from Nunavut to Norway move ahead

"Maud really deserves a better destiny than to totally disintegrate where she lies today"

By JANE GEORGE

The project manager of the Norwegian project to bring the Maud, once sailed by Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, back to Norway says that, if all goes according to plan, the ship could be back to Norway next summer. Here's how the Maud, marooned in the waters off Cambridge Bay, looks today.(PHOTO BY SUSAN BARR)


The project manager of the Norwegian project to bring the Maud, once sailed by Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, back to Norway says that, if all goes according to plan, the ship could be back to Norway next summer. Here’s how the Maud, marooned in the waters off Cambridge Bay, looks today.(PHOTO BY SUSAN BARR)

Next week, Tandberg Eindom AS, the Norwegian investment company that wants to bring the Maud back from Cambridge Bay to Norway, will ask the community of Asker to turn over ownership of the wrecked hulk, once sailed by Roald Amundsen, the first European explorer to make it through the Northwest Passage in 1906 and to the South Pole in 1911.

But Jan Wanggaard, the project manager for the “Maud Returns Home” project,” told Nunatsiaq News that Tandberg Eindom is in no hurry to bring the ship back to Norway where there are plans to construct a modernistic museum around the hulk.

“There is no set timeline as the project process has to develop in a natural way — both on a technical-practical level but also relative to the formal process — regarding in particular the application for a new export permit,” Wanggaard said in an email.

In 1990, when they bought the Maud, officials in Asker applied for and received a cultural properties export permit from Canada’s federal government, but never acted to bring the 36.5-metre ship back. The permit expired.

But now Asker — or Tandberg Eiendom, if that company takes over ownership— is expected to apply for new export permit.

Wanggaard said that if the federal government grants another export permit, the plan to ship the Maud back 7,000 kilometres to Norway could move ahead in 2011.

“Our wish is to save Maud as soon as possible as we all know the critical state it is in, so our wish is to do all necessary plans and surveys and deal with all formal matters this year- and the realize the rescue operation next year,” he said.

Wanggaard said he’d spent the last half year trying to see if moving the Maud would be “technically and financially” feasible.

“We have now come to the conclusion that we are willing to go ahead to realize this project — and we are very optimistic and enthusiastic about the possibility to finally give Maud a final rest in a protected environment available to a big public,” he said. “People in Norway have a very strong relation to Roald Amundsen and our initiative that was recently made official in Norway has received enormous positive reaction.”

Norway’s National Maritime Museum is among the parties which “bless and support our plans,” he said.

Wanggaard’s next step is to introduce the project to people in Canada.

“The reason we haven’t done this before now is simply that we wanted to have a well considered plan before bringing it forward and across to Canada,” he said. “It is a big responsibility to take on but Maud really deserves a better destiny than to totally disintegrate where she lies today and have laid for the last 80 years.”

Wangaard said he plans to contact the people of Cambridge Bay soon and to visit the community this summer.

“I believe this project can be exciting and beneficial also to the future of Cambridge Bay, but most important[ly] to the shipwreck of Maud itself,” he said.

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